This roasted pear dish is sweet, salty, savory, and seasonal! A dessert that is equally at home as a starter to a special meal.
This is a simple dish to make, using one of my favorite flavor combinations: pears, blue cheese, and nuts, especially butternuts or pecans. I think it is a combination made in Heaven!
The pears are beautiful right now, so it’s the time to take advantage of this autumn treasure. Sweet and flavorful, they pair beautifully with the savory side of things. We love a grilled blue cheese and pear with just a touch of blue cheese along with the Cheddar, and salads with this flavor combination are always a hit. Stuff chicken breasts with this trio, or just snack on slices of pear with the cheese and nuts balanced on top.
There are some lovely Vermont blue cheeses out there! With no apologies to the French, I think ours are every bit as complex and delicious. Our two house favorites are Bailey Hazen Blue from Jasper Hill Farms and True Blue from Woodcock Farms. I’m using Bailey Hazen here.
Butternuts have been hard to come by this year, so I used pecans here. My honey is from my friend Carolyn’s hives in Windham. The honey is a nice touch if you are serving this as a dessert, but it is not necessary. Those who prefer a cheese course to finish off a nice dinner will appreciate this.
Pears Roasted with Blue Cheese and Pecans
2 ounces chopped pecans
6 whole pecans
2 tbsp. butter
3 ripe pears
2 ounces blue cheese, plus more for sprinkling
1 tsp. finely minced tarragon
Native honey for drizzling, optional
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Prep the pears. Cut in half lengthwise and use a melon-baller to scoop out the seed cavity. If the core that leads to the stem is thick, remove it gently with a sharp paring knife. Leave the stem on for presentation if possible. If they do not sit flat, slice off a tiny portion on the back side to allow it to sit without a wobble.
In a large oven-proof skillet, over medium heat, toast the nuts. Keep and eye on them, when they are fragrant and just starting to brown, remove them from the pan to a bowl and set aside.
In the same pan, melt butter, and add the pears, cut-side down. Reduce the heat. Cook just until the flesh on the cut side start to color.
Remove the pan from the heat, turn the pears over, cut-side up, and place on the middle rack in the oven. Set the timer for 10 minutes. If the pears are really small or ripe, check at seven or eight minutes.
While the pears are cooking, combine the blue cheese, chopped nuts, and tarragon.
After the 10 minutes, or until the pears have softened and a knife goes through them easily, remove the pan from the oven and fill each cavity with the cheese/nut mixture. I use a rounded tablespoon measure and it’s just about perfect. Add a nut half to the top of each one, and sprinkle a little more cheese around the top of the pear.
(You can stop here and refrigerate to finish off later! This is a big time saver if you are having a dinner party. When your guests arrive, as it approaches time to serve these, just turn on the broiler and pop these in for a minute or two.)
Return to the oven for about two minutes, or until the cheese mixture is melted and gooey.
Plate the pears, one per serving, and drizzle with some beautiful local honey if you want a sweet touch. Finish with some flaked sea salt.
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