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Author Notes: I love walnuts. I love sage. With them, I love blue cheese, honey, pears and caramelized anything. Upon daydreaming about anything combining those marvelous flavors, I made this: warm baguette topped with caramelized, sage-scented shallots, pan-roasted pear, sage- and honey-roasted walnuts, and fourme d'ambert.
While delicious as a crostini, I suspect this would also be delicious as a savory dessert, atop french toast or tossed with pasta.
Makes 12-16 crostini
For the caramelized, sage-scented shallots and pears
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 large fresh sage leaves
- 1 cup thinly sliced shallots
- ? teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar
- 1 Bosc pear, cut into 1/4" thick slices
- In a 10" nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the 4 sage leaves, and cook, swirling pan, until sage leaves are crispy and oil is fragrant. Remove and reserve leaves.
- Lower the heat to low, and add the shallots and salt to the hot oil. Cook 10 minutes or so until the shallots are soft and looking beautifully golden, verging on brown.
- Stir in the balsamic vinegar, cooking for 3 or 4 minutes, and then add the pear slices and fried sage leaves, tossing gently to coat both sides in the sagey-onion yumminess. When the pears are crisp-tender -not real long; just a couple minutes- remove pan from heat.
For the sage-honey walnuts and all the rest
- 1 cup walnut halves, casually broken into smaller pieces
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
- sliced, toasted baguette
- 1-2 ounces fourme d'ambert (or a blue cheese you like), crumbled
- freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat your oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with foil. In a small mixing bowl (or on the foil-lined sheet if you don't want to wash another dish; yes please!), toss to combine the walnuts, honey and chopped sage. Place on the foil-lined baking sheet in a single layer, and roast in the heated oven about 10 minutes, or until you think they just look done: golden brown, smelling lovely, still able to be tossed with a wooden spoon...
- Towards the end of the walnuts roasting, pop your baguette slices in the oven too. When the nuts are roasted and the baguette is toasted, remove them from the oven. Place baguette slices on a serving platter, spoon some of the sage shallots on top, lay a pan-roasted pear slice on those and then sprinkle crumbled cheese and the walnuts over. Grind a slight bit of fresh ground pepper over all the crostini and serve immediately.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Walnuts & Sage
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