For two weeks, our friends at the Good Food Awards will be sharing articles, tips, and recipes from some of their judges, friends, and past GFA winners. Each day will feature a different category, from chocolate to charcuterie to cheese. And if you'd like to score some of the goods competing in this year's awards, head to Provisions.
Today: Sam Mogannam of San Francisco's Bi-Rite Market and author of Eat Good Food: A Grocer’s Guide to Shopping, Cooking & Creating Community Through Food, celebrates a favorite from the Good Food Awards cheese category by pairing it with grilled pears and toasted hazelnuts.
In honor of one of our favorite Good Food Award Winners, Avalanche Cheese Company’s Midnight Blue, we paired it with toasted hazelnuts and fragrant pears for a warm and wintry salad.
These pears are infinitely versatile: You can eat them by themselves as a light first course; or, for a more substantial salad, serve them on a bed of lightly dressed arugula; they are even lovely as dessert. The best part is that you can grill the pears a few hours ahead of time and then assemble them just before serving.
For the best results, use pears that are ripe but still relatively firm; the extra sturdiness makes them easier to manipulate on the grill. We like Bosc, Warren, and Red Cascade varieties. If you can’t find hazelnuts, almonds or walnuts will work nicely, too.
Serves 4 to 6
4 ripe pears, cored and halved
Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing and drizzling
6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (see Note)
1/3 cup crumbled Midnight blue cheese
1/4 cup toasted skinned hazelnuts, coarsely chopped (see Tip)
4 sprigs of tarragon
Photo provided by the Good Food Awards