When I heard that the theme for this week’s #SundaySupper was Cheese, Cake and Cheesecake, hosted by Angie of Big Bear’s Wife I was in a quandry. As you can no doubt tell from the title of this blog, baking is my thing – so a cake would be the obvious choice. However, in a bid to extend my repertoire and share a few more nutritious, healthy recipes, as well as the indulgent ones, I decided to make a savoury dish – Roasted Pears with Pecorino.
While I have a sweet tooth, I also love cheese, and have even been known to choose it above a pud at the end of a meal. Perhaps the most heavenly thing of all is the pairing of sweet and savoury,which is what I have tried to do with this recipe. I first discovered pears with pecorino cheese in Italy (where better to discover pecorino than in its home country?) thanks to my friend Krista of Rambling Tart.
The nutty, salty flavour of the cheese contrasts against the sweetness of the pears so well, and I’ve added some extra ingredients which are all natural and nutritious, but which make it seem like an ultra-decadent dish. Quince Jelly, or membrillo, is a Spanish speciality, usually paired with manchego cheese. Manchego is also a hard ewe’s cheese, but is more creamy and less salty than pecorino. Here, the membrillo is a complement to the pears and balances well against the cheese. Walnuts bring out the nutty flavour of the cheese, while a drizzle of honey and balsamic vinegar just adds a final flourish, an extra depth to the taste.
I am definitely more of a baker than a cook, but sometimes there is something so satisfying about putting together a combination of wonderful flavours which just make you smile. I hope you enjoy this rustic, simple dish, with pecorino cheese as the star.
Serves two as a starter
Preheat the oven to 180C and line a baking tray with foil.
Halve and core the pears, place onto the tray and roast in the oven. Roast for about 20 minutes, turning the pears over halfway through, until just soft and tinged brown at the edges.
Remove from oven and fill the centres of the pear halves with membrillo, about a teaspoon in each. Cover with thinly sliced pecorino.
Return to oven for 5-10 minutes, until the pecorino is just beginning to brown. It doesn’t melt completely – it holds its shape, but it takes on a wonderful flavour.
Prepare plates with a handful of rocket and spinach leaves and put the pear halves on top. The leaves will begin to just wilt slightly. Drizzle with honey and balsamic – you do not need very much of either, so as not to overpower the pears and cheese. Garnish with a few walnut halves and serve immediately.
This works well as a starter, or alternatively by itself as a simple supper.
For more recipes involving cheese, cake and even cheesecake, look no further – the #SundaySupper group has it covered!
Chevre Torte with Mango and Sweet Pepper Salsa by Noshing with the Nolands