Pear and blue cheese crostini

Quick recipe using two delicious products that are available year-round

Recipe and photos by Josee Brisson

By the time spring rolls around, Quebecois are longing for long summer days and trips to farmer’s markets. Overflowing with colourful fruits and vegetables, marvellous artisanal cheeses, wines, charcuteries, preserves and breads, markets are a sight for sore eyes after a long winter.

From the dreamy orchards of Saint-Joseph-du-Lac, to the famous strawberries of Île d’Orleans, to the sweet shrimp from Matane, Quebec’s bounty can keep an epicurean satiated for years.

From the dreamy orchards of Saint-Joseph-du-Lac,
to the famous strawberries of Île d’Orleans,
to the sweet shrimp from Matane, Quebec’s bounty
can keep an epicurean satiated for years.

While we wait for the first harvest, I thought I would offer you a quick recipe using two delicious products that are available year-round, the Ermite blue cheese and the Poiré Mousseux.

There is a wonderful variety of blue cheeses made in Quebec. For this recipe, I chose the Ermite from Saint-Benoît-du-Lac, produced by the Benedictine monks of Saint Benedict’s Abbey since 1943. This uncooked, blue-veined, semi-soft cheese was the first blue cheese produced in the province. It has an edible thin greyish rind with a salty, sharp and crumbly interior.

The Poiré Mousseux produced by Entre Pierre et Terre of Franklin in the Montérégie region, is a medium-dry pear wine with floral and fruity aromas. It is surprisingly refreshing and a pleasure to drink.

Pear and blue cheese crostini with toasted pumpkin seeds

Serves two

1/4 lb. (125 g) of Ermite blue cheese at room temperature
1 firm Bosc or Rocha pear
2 tablespoons of pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons of pear liqueur
1 tablespoon of butter
1 1/2 tablespoons of white balsamic vinegar
French grey sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
12 slices of good quality baguette
Artisanal dry sausage or dry-cured ham for serving

Crumble blue cheese inpear and blue cheese crostini westmountmag.cato a shallow bowl. Mash with a fork and set aside.

In a non-stick skillet, dry toast the pumpkin seeds until they become golden and fragrant. Move them often and do not leave them unattended as they will burn in a matter of seconds. Place the seeds in a small bowl and set aside.

Wash and dry the pear. Cut the unpeeled pear into very small cubes (brunoise). Add the butter to the same skillet used to toast the pumpkin seeds, and melt on medium heat. Add the pears, season with salt and pepper and cook until they begin to soften and colour. Deglaze the pan with the pear liqueur, making sure you scrape the bottom of the pan, and stir to coat the pears. When the liqueur has reduced, stir in the vinegar and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.

Set the oven on broil. Arrange 12 half-inch slices of baguette on a cookie sheet and broil until golden.

Remove the cookie sheet from the oven. Turn each slice over, unbaked side up, and divide the crumbled cheese between the slices. Return to the oven and broil until the cheese starts bubbling.

Arrange the crostini on a serving plate. Top each crostino with the pear mixture and sprinkle with toasted pumpkin seeds. Serve with slices of artisanal dry sausage or dry-cured ham.

Bon appétit!

My previous recipes in

Roasted Tomatoes and Herbed Feta Crostini
Grilled Halloumi Cheese with Pomegranate Arils and Syrup
Roasted Fresh Figs with Goat Cheese and Rose-scented Honey
Oven-roasted Almonds with Garlic, Rosemary and Thyme
Melted Fontina Cheese with Sundried Tomatoes
Pan Seared Scallops with Perfumed Coconut Milk Reduction, Cilantro Oil, Passion Fruit Juice
Sunny Lemony Stracciatella Zuppa
Marinated Olives with Preserved Lemon Dirty Vodka Martini

photo de Josee Brisson

Josee Brisson is a culinary creator passionate about archaeology, mythology, history, literature, and the arts. She trained as a professional cook at École Hôtelière des Laurentides, in Sainte-Adèle, Québec. Among other food projects, she collaborated on two cookbooks with world-renowned food and wine expert François Chartier, and offered a Chef at Home service. Josee is also a translator, researcher and social media community manager. Her cookbook, L’Apéro: Appetizers & Cocktails, was #1 Best Seller in Appetizer Cooking at Amazon. Here’s the link to Josee’s book.

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