In the Kitchen with Sigona’s featuring Pears
Pears are for more than just eating out of hand or adding to your morning cereal. Try these recipes with a variety of pears!
Blue Cheese & Walnut Spread with Pears
Double or half the recipe to your liking. Add more of one flavor, if you choose, to bring out your favorite. Just use the proportions and adjust accordingly to suit your own taste, adding more or less blue or cream cheese. This is killer on a slice of pear or a cracker, with warm crostini or pita, or even stirred into a pile of steaming hot pasta or risotto. Recipe and photos courtesy of www.MixedGreensBlog.com.
- 1/4 cup blue cheese (3 or 4 oz.), could be gorgonzola
- 1/2 cup cream cheese
- 1/2 cup roasted walnuts (or unroasted if you prefer)
- A tiny bit of milk or cream
- OPTIONAL: add to it with other flavors, such as finely chopped garlic or Worcestershire.
If roasting the walnuts, roast them in a pan on the stove top for 5 or 6 minutes, medium heat, stirring often. When cooled, chop finely and mix walnuts with the cheese and the dab of milk.
With ingredients at room temp this is easy to mix by hand and the blue cheese and walnuts don’t get pulverized.
To Serve: For tray serving, add a dollop to a slice of pear and arrange on a platter. Alternatively, serve in a bowl and allow guests to dip or scoop as much as they like.
Roasted Pear, Gorgonzola & Walnut Pizza
You can use almost any thin bread. Focaccia, ciabatta, crostinis, pizza, fresh tortillas or pita. This is excellent material for quesadillas. Recipe and photos courtesy of www.MixedGreensBlog.com.
Adjust quantities of these ingredients to suit your own taste, or according to what’s available. Pay attention to the process and that’s about it
- Pita (or other thin bread)
- 1 or 2 ripe pears, sliced thinly lengthwise
- 4 – 5 ounces of Gorgonzola or any blue cheese, at room temp
- 1/2 – 2/3 cup walnuts or pine nuts
- 1 TBL fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- Arugula, optional.
Directions: Brush the bread of choice with olive oil and spread thinly with room temperature cheese. Arrange thinly sliced pears over the cheese and sprinkle with walnuts. Bake at 375 degrees, 5 minutes for open-faced tortilla, 10 – 12 minutes for focaccia or pre-baked pizza dough.
Remove from the oven and when still piping hot, sprinkle with finely chopped rosemary, perhaps a little more cheese and a big handful of arugula. Best eaten while warm.
Or make quesadillas. Spread these same ingredients over one tortilla, top with a second tortilla. Grill in melted butter for 4 minutes on each side. Cool, slice and eat while warm.
Warm Pear & Sage Crostini with Blue Cheese
While we’re used to seeing poached pears, canned pears or pears in a salad, we wanted to throw out another option that takes an ordinary pear and kicks is up a notch. This topper is fabulous on baguette slices, but would also sit nicely on a sturdy cracker. Makes 16 crostinis.
- 4 tbsp. butter, divided
- 3 ripe Bartlett pears, cored, peeled, and chopped
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 white or whole-wheat baguette
- 6 sage leaves, chopped
- 1/4 cup crumbled mild blue cheese, we recommend St. Agur blue cheese
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Directions: While preheating oven to 375˚, slice baguette into 1/4″ thick slices (make about 15-20 slices, set aside remaining baguette). Using 1 TBL of butter, spread a bit on each baguette slice and arrange them on a baking sheet. Also, use this time to core, peel and chop pears into about 1/4″ square pieces.
When oven is preheated, add baguette slices and toast for 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on them so they don’t get too toasty.
Melt 3 tsp. butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Once butter is melted, add in the pear pieces and salt. Stir together and cook until pear squares are soft (8-11 minutes). Stir in sage and remove from heat.
Top toasted baguette slices with pear mix, sprinkle with a little pepper and top with blue cheese. Serve immediately.
Mâche Salad With Pear and a Balsamic Honey Vinaigrette
Pear, fresh greens, toasted walnuts and a sprinkling of gorgonzola, this is what a side salad should be! Serves 6. Recipe courtesy of Luisa Ormonde of Luisa’s Catering.
For the salad:
- 1 bag Mâche (lambs lettuce)
- 2 ripe small pears, diced
- 1 cup walnuts, toasted then glazed with honey while warm
- 1 cup gorgonzola cheese, crumbled (room temp to serve)
For the Balsamic Honey Vinaigrette:
- 1/4 cup Sigona’s traditional, aged balsamic vinegar
- 1 TBL honey
- 1/2 cup Sigona’s Fresh Press olive oil
- pinch of sea salt
Balsamic Honey Vinaigrette: Place all ingredients in a small jar and shake well. Set aside.
For the Salad: In a salad bowl, gently toss the Mâche and pears with a light drizzle of the vinaigrette.
Distribute salad to serving plates and sprinkle with walnuts and gorgonzola. Add any additional vinaigrette, if desired.
Poached Pears with Stilton and Belgian Endive
Looking to knock the socks off your Thanksgiving guests? Try out this amazing dessert from Luisa Ormonde, a private chef and caterer from San Carlos. D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S! You can find all these recommended ingredients at Sigona’s!
Note from Luisa: The greatest compliment I received about this salad was at my friend’s birthday party that I catered. A man, who I had not heard speak a word all night, came up to me and simply said “That was perfection”. I hope once you have this salad you’ll think so too!
- 1/2 cup sugar
- juice of 1 lemon
- 4 Bosc pears, peeled
- 1/2 cup crumbled Stilton cheese
- 4 oz Gina Marie cream cheese, softened
- 3 TBL champagne vinegar
- honey to taste
- 1 tsp fresh chopped thyme leaves
- 2 TBL extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup corn oil
- kosher salt and white pepper to taste
- 1 bag organic mâche lettuce
- 2 heads white and red Belgian endive, leaves separated
- fresh chives
- 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
Directions: Combine the sugar, lemon juice and 4 cups of water in a large saucepan and bring the water to a boil. Add the pears and simmer 12-15 minutes, until fork tender. Allow pears to cool in the liquid.
Combine the stilton and cream cheese until smooth. Cut 3 of the pears in half, remove seeds and core, creating a small cavity in each pear half for the cheese stuffing (I use a teaspoon measuring spoon; you could also use a small melon baller). Place the pears cut side up (you may need to shave a little off the bottom so the pear lays flat) on a baking sheet and divide the filling among the six halves. Cover and refrigerate until ready to bake.
When ready to serve, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake the stuffed pears for 8-10 minutes, until the filling is heated through and just beginning to brown. Remove pears from oven and allow to slightly cool.
While the pears are baking, core the remaining pear and chop it into small pieces. Combine the pears, vinegar, honey and thyme in a blender and puree. Slowly add the olive oil and corn oil until thickened. Season with salt and white pepper.
In a bowl, toss the mâche with the pear vinaigrette. Alternating the white and red endive, arrange the endive leaves in a fan pattern on six plates and mound the dressed mâche in the center. Place a warm baked pear in the center of each plate and garnish with a fresh chive and sprinkle with toasted walnuts.
Note: the vinaigrette may be prepared 48 hours in advance. The poached pears may be held in their poaching liquid in the refrigerator up to 48 hours.