December 5, 2013 by Meg G.
Unlike picnic club (wah wah), cookbook club is still happening (hooray!). We did decide to take a break in November and December, since conflicting schedules, holidays, travel, and other life-events were thwarting our monthly potluck. But we have continued to cook out of Plenty. In fact, we’ve been cooking out of it for so long that I had to return 2 copies – one that I borrowed from a friend and one from the library. But then Heather surprised me with my own copy! (Spoiled. Owning it.)
Now. Let’s talk crostini.
Let’s talk about how these take crostini to another level. Let’s talk about how you really can’t go wrong with the pear + goat cheese combination. Let’s talk about how you can, however, improve it. In this case, whipping up a simple garlic-pine nut purée takes this recipe to the next level. Here goes!
Pear and Goat Cheese Crostini – via Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 5 Tbsp olive oil, plus extra to finish
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- salt and black pepper
- 4 large slices sourdough bread, cut 1 1/2 inches thick
- 3 semi-ripe pears (unpeeled)
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 4 to 5 oz good-quality goat cheese
- fresh chervil leaves to garnish (we didn’t have/use these)
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Prepare the pine nut purée: Place the pine nuts, 4 tablespoons of olive oil, the garlic, a pinch of salt and some black pepper in a food processor and blend into a coarse and wet paste. Spread a thin layer on one side of each of the slices of bread, place on a baking sheet, and bake for 10 minutes or until lightly colored. Remove and allow to cool slightly.
- Prepare the pears: Core and slice them into slices, about 1/2 inch thick. If you’re using a baguette or small loaf, cut the slices in half. Place the slices in a bowl with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, sugar, lemon juice, an a pinch of salt. Toss gently.
- Cook the pears: Take a ridged griddle pan and place on high heat until piping hot. (Splash some water on it – if it sizzles and evaporates, it’s ready.) Carefully lay the pear slices on the pan and leave for about a minute or two on each side, just to make char marks. Turn carefully and then remove with tongs, trying not to break the pears.
- Assemble the crostini: Slice the cheese thinly and arrange over the toasts. Place the crostini in the oven for 3 or 4 minutes, just to warm up and partially melt the cheese. Remove from the oven and serve hot or warm.
Ottolenghi recommends garnishing with fresh chervil, drizzling with olive oil, and sprinkling with freshly ground black pepper. The aroma was so tempting that we completely skipped that last part and promptly ate half the pan.
We’re still talking about these. We made them about a month ago and they became dinner, because we couldn’t stop eating them.
Heather made them a second time without me (the nerve!) and then we brought them with us to Thanksgiving dinner last week. They were the perfect appetizer – light, flavorful, and seasonal. They flew off the platter. Next time, I might have to drizzle some honey on top. You know, just for kicks.