Pear and Goat Cheese Crostini

A few years ago I was hosting a brunch and wanted to find a special pairing to be the highlight of the meal.  I’ve had Yotam’s Plenty cookbook for a while so I went there for inspiration.  To my delight, I found a wonderful Pear and Goat Cheese Crostini that is a beautiful complement to our Benevolent Viognier.  In addition to brunch, this makes a great spring lunch, an afternoon appetizer or even a light dinner!  Try it this weekend.


Recipe adapted from: Yotam Ottolenghi, Plenty: Vibrant Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi

¼ cup pine nuts
5 tbsp olive oil, plus extra
1 garlic clove, peeled
salt and black pepper
4 large slices sourdough bread, cut 1 ½ inches thick
3 semi-ripe pears (unpeeled)
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
4 to 5 oz goat cheese

Preheat oven to 400OF. Place the pine nuts, 4 tbsp of olive oil, garlic, a pinch of salt and some black pepper in food processor bowl and work to a coarse and wet paste. Apply paste to one side of sourdough slices. Put the bread on a baking sheet and bake for 7-8 minutes until lightly toasted. Remove and cool.

While the bread is in oven, prepare the pears. Stand each pear on a chopping board and trim a thin layer of skin from each side. Cut each pear lengthways into four thick slices. Remove core from slices. Place pear slices in a bowl with 1 tbsp of oil, the sugar, lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Toss gently.

Heat a ridged griddle pan. Grill the pears a minute on each side, just to make char marks. Turn and remove carefully trying not to break.

To assemble, slice the cheese thinly and arrange over the toasts, alongside the pears. Place crostini in the oven for 3 to 4 minutes, just to warm up and the cheese partly melts.

Dennis Whitaker