South of Melbourne is Tasmania’s King Island, recognized around the world for its outstanding dairy products. One of them is a particularly unctuous waxed blue cheese known as “Roaring 40s Blue.” It is named after the punishing 100 km/hr winds (62 mph) that bedevil the latitude of 40°S. If unavailable, substitute your favorite blue cheese, such as gorgonzola or Roquefort.
- 2 large ripe red Bartlett pears, halved, cored, and cut into thick wedges
- Sea salt, to taste
- 8 ounces blue cheese, preferably from King Island, brought to room temperature and cut into wedges
- 12 dates, pitted
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
- 1 teaspoon pink peppercorns, toasted and lightly crushed
- Eight 1/2-inch-thick slices country-style white bread
Divide the pears among 4 salad plates and season with salt. Arrange a wedge of cheese and 3 dates on each plate. Drizzle with the olive oil and garnish with the mint and peppercorns. Serve with the sliced country bread for dipping in the olive oil.
Serves 4 — Recipe adapted from Mallmann on Fire by Francis Mallmann (Artisan 2014)