>> Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Caramelized pears with ash coated goat cheese and topped with crushed almonds on top of whole grain toast. Crostini is Italian for toast and it sounds nicer than just saying toast. Don't you just love Italian , it makes even the simplest things sound marvelous :) The goat cheese I am using is one of my favorite types of goat cheese , it it covered in ash. Ash? yes that's right! Though you do find some cheeses with cow milk that have ash, Ash is most commonly added to goat cheese to help tone down the acidity. Some cheeses have the ash added on the outside and others have a layer of ash in the center diving two layers. There is nothing to be nervous about when it comes to the ash, it's flavorless and perfectly safe.
All this talk about cheese is making me really miss France. When I lived in Paris my flat was just down the street from our local Fromagerie. Ah a cheese lover's paradise, even with the horrible smell. Mexicans don't eat a lot of cheese so for me cheese was something I grew to love. My husband started introducing me to all sorts of cheeses, that I know love. But living in cheese paradise France I quickly felt like I knew nothing about cheese, (Ok I still don't know that much). Going to the fromagerie was always an adventure to try new cheeses. ( After closing hours if you walked down the street from the shop you could still smell the cheese , hehe). At restaurants we quickly took to loving the assiette du fromage (cheese plate) for dessert. But even just taking a walk down the "cheese isle" in our local Champion grocery store was an exhilarating experience. There were so many different choices of deliciously creamy and wonderfully stinky cheeses, I honestly can't remember them all.
In Prague the choices of local cheeses are somewhat limited and there aren't any fromageries here. But recently a small gourmet shop opened up in my neighborhood. Of course I had to know what was being sold there, and to my surprise they have FROMAGE!! lots of French cheeses, Dutch , German and Italian varieties. I was thrilled to see the ash coated goat cheese as it was always one of my favorites in Paris. I can't wait to go back to try some new cheeses, yum. So today I am sharing a simple recipe to use this very versatile cheese, a crostini.
1 pear (your choice)
goat cheese, spreadable
almonds, slivered or freshly crushed
1. Peel the pear and either slice or dice it. In a pan melt a knob of butter, just enough to coat the pan, then add the pears. Stir the pears then add some honey to coat the pear pieces. I used about 1 spoonful, adjust to your liking. Next drizzle a bit of balsamic vinegar and stir the mixture. Sprinkle in a pinch each of salt and black pepper and again stir to combine the mixture.
2. Cook until the pear pieces have become soft and transparent, they will have caramelized. Prepare the bread by toasting then spread some goat cheese on the toast. Top the toast with the cooked pears and spread on a even layer. Sprinkle the almonds and serve.