It’s Christmas and those festive starters are a great startup toward the main menu and there is still a whole lot going on behind the curtains. Vegan starters or not like: Melting cheese with poppy & apricot bread wreath; Ham hock & mustard terrine; Spiced parsnip & cauliflower soup; Potted Stilton; Poached & smoked salmon pâté with bagel toasts; Pear & Manchego salad or Roasted pear with walnut & ginger filling make all the perfect entrance to the great dinner show. Certainly we are not suggesting to cook all of them at once but you can choose those which you think match to each other. If you have a look at them you’ll not be surprised by their look because these appetizers names say everything.
But let’s focus on Roasted pear with walnut & ginger filling which filling is the perfect way to kick off Christmas dinner. If you’re making this for vegetarians, it’s lovely with 80 g blue cheese added at step 3.
- 5 comice pears
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
- 70 g walnut halves
- 20 g pine nuts
- 20 g stem ginger , optional
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas 4. Halve and core the pears and place them all cut-side up in an ovenproof dish.
Sprinkle over ½ a teaspoon of cinnamon and the caraway seeds and pop in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until they’re just browning at the edges and the flesh is soft. Allow to cool.
Place the walnuts and pine nuts on a baking tray and toast in the oven for 4 to 5 minutes – the pine nuts won’t take long to turn golden, so keep an eye on them. Set aside a few toasted pine nuts for serving.
Once the pears have cooled, scoop most of the flesh out of 4 of the halves, leaving just enough so the sides don’t collapse.
Chop up 4 other roasted pear halves and pop in a food processor with the scooped-out pear flesh and toasted nuts. Add the stem ginger and the rest of the cinnamon and blitz. You want a paste that’s quite textured, not totally smooth.
Divide the pear mixture between the scooped-out pear skins. Peel and core the reserved pear, slice it thinly lengthways and arrange a couple of slivers on top of each stuffed pear.
Decorate with a few chopped toasted pine nuts and serve, warmed through or cold. It’s great with a little peppery salad, like rocket leaves, on the side.
Recipe source: Jamie Oliver