The proprietress of Nullamunjie, Annetta “Annie” Paterson, served these delectable crostini to me and my Merry Band of Tasters at a dinner at her home in Melbourne. We loved them and implored her to share the recipe, which she adapted from one of the many cookbooks in her collection.
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided use, plus extra to finish the crostini
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and coarsely chopped
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 4 slices sourdough, 1/2 inch thick
- 3 semi-ripe pears, unpeeled
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 4 ounces good quality goat cheese
- A few leaves fresh cilantro, watercress, or purple basil
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Put the pine nuts, 4 tablespoons of oil, the garlic, a pinch of salt, and a little pepper in the bowl of a food processor and work to a coarse, wet paste. Use a pastry brush to spread on one side of each slice of bread, then lay these on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, until lightly colored. Remove and leave to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, stand each pear on a cutting board, then cut each pear lengthwise into four thick slices. Remove the core with the tip of a knife. Place the slices in a bowl along with a tablespoon of oil, the lemon juice, sugar, and a pinch of salt. Toss gently.
Take a ridged grill pan and place on the stovetop over high heat until piping hot. Lay in the pear slices and leave for about a minute, then ip over and leave for another minute to get grill marks on both sides. Remove with a pair of tongs, trying not to break the pears.
To assemble the crostini, thinly slice the cheese and arrange over the toasts, alongside the pears. You want to be able to see both clearly, so allow them to overlap and rest on each other to create height. Put the crostini in the hot oven for three to four minutes to warm through and for the cheese to partly melt. Remove from the oven and place a pile of fresh herbs in the center of each toast. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Serve hot or warm.
Serves 4 — Recipe adapted from Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London’s Ottolenghiby Yotam Ottolenghi (Chronicle Books, 2011)