Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Walnuts and Sage

So, I was challenged with this theme by some devious friends and after thinking it over here's the recipe I came up with:

Don’t Call It BROOSHETTA!!! (Bruschetta with fromage blanc, pear, walnuts and sage)
“Bruschetta” (hard ch in Italian) loosely translated means “something burned”. In this case it is bread that has been grilled and scorched. It’s the big brother of the crostini. You can use a ridged grill pan or better still, an outdoor wood fired grill, such as your Weber.
The topping for this bruschetta is easy to make. While I would like to use a stracchino cheese for this, unless you live close to DiPalo in Incredible Shrinking Little Itay or Batali’s Eataly it’s going to be hard to find because it doesn’t travel well. So I’m using fromage blanc but you might substitute a farmer’s cheese. Stracchino, a cheese from Lombardia, gets its name from supposedly tired cows coming down from Alpine pasture lands.
5 to 6 thick slices of country style bread or boule, each slice halved
1 bunch fresh sage
8 ounces fromage blanc or farmers cheese
½ cup walnut pieces, broken up
1 ripe comice pear or other pear of your choice (peeled and cored)
2 tablespoons butter
In a dry pan toast your walnut pieces and set aside.
Cut up your pear into small dice.
Turn out your cheese into a medium sized bowl and work in the pears and walnuts with a fork.
Separate out between 10 to 12 sage leaves* and spread them on a plate or pan so that you can dust them lightly with the Wondra flour.
In a skillet lightly brown your better (beurre noir).
Fry the sage leaves until slightly crisp and lay them out on paper towel.
Heat up a ridged grill pan (dry).** When it’s hot, grill and turn the bread once on each side so that it’s toasted and burn marks show.
As the slices come off lay one or two sage leaves on each followed by a smear of cheese mixture while the bread is still warm.
*Note to cook; if your sage leaves are small you might want to add two or more to each slice. The idea is to deliver a little surprise note of herb to the bite.
** Better still if weather permits, fire up a wood grill using lump charcoal for more flavor. Do NOT use briquettes or your bread will taste lake motor oil.