Oven-roasted Pears with Caramelized Shallots, Figs and Gorgonzola
So many vibrant flavors of the season come to play in this dish, yet each is very simply prepared to retain its individuality. Serve this gorgeous combination as a cozy brunch item, a light supper or as a small plate in a more complex, autumnal menu scheme.
For the pears and figs
- 3 ripe pears (Starkrimson pears are really pretty in this dish) Add to list
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup Add to list
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar Add to list
- Freshly ground pepper Add to list
- 9 black mission figs, stems removed Add to list
- 1 cup pear or apple cider Add to list
For the shallots
- 2 tablespoons olive oil Add to list
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced pancetta or prosciutto (optional) Add to list
- 3 medium shallots, peeled and sliced Add to list
- 2 to 3 leaves fresh sage, minced Add to list
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste Add to list
For the final dish
- 4 ounces Gorgonzola cheese Add to list
To make the pears and figs
Preheat oven to 400° F.
Cut the pears in half lengthwise and remove the stem and core. Cut each pear half crosswise into about 6 slices and place cut side down in a baking dish just large enough to hold all 6. Fan each half forward a bit to expose some of the white pear flesh. Combine the maple syrup and balsamic vinegar and brush each pear half lightly. Sprinkle with a little black pepper.
Cut each of the figs in half and place, cut side up, on a separate baking sheet. Brush each fig with a little of the maple syrup mixture. Reserve the rest for the dressing.
Pour the cider around the pears and place in the oven. Roast for about 20 minutes (depending on ripeness) or until the pears are tender. Roast the figs for 10 minutes or until they puff slightly in the center. (You may boil the cooking liquid from the pears down to a syrup to serve on the side if you like.)
To make the shallots
In a heavy sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the pancetta. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes; stir in the shallots and sage. Stir-fry the mixture just until the shallots are lightly golden. Turn the heat to medium-high and add the remainder of the maple syrup and balsamic mixture. Cook, stirring, until the mixture is bubbly and lightly reduced. Season with salt and pepper.
Divide the shallots between 6 plates. Top each with a half of pear, 3 fig halves, a wedge of Gorgonzola and any of the additional garnish options listed in the Note section.
Additional garnish options: dried cranberries, toasted hazelnuts, sauteed chanterelle mushrooms, fried sage leaves, roasted butternut squash
Recipe by, PCC Chef
Source: Demonstrated on KING 5's "New Day Northwest" show, which aired September 14, 2011.