So here comes my second recipe in which I can’t for the life of me remember where I originally saw it. It was during one of those busy rush weeks where I was able to spare a few minutes flipping through a magazine at home… or maybe at a bookstore, or even possibly the library… and happened to see this combo of pear and bleu cheese on toast with a watercress garnish. The first few thoughts that flashed through my mind at the photograph were something like, “Yum: bleu cheese and pear!…on TOAST?!…eww…and – what the – watercress??” As you can see, while my palate has advanced significantly in the last few years it somehow had yet to realize such a combination of sweet fruit, salty cheese, crusty bread, and peppery greens could be absolutely FABULOUS!
About a week or so after glancing at the mysterious recipe I still could not get the snack out of my mind and decided to ignore my reservations and give it a go. I went our local version of a Whole Foods store to find a good quality bleu cheese and was nearly overwhelmed with the options! An entire 5 foot-long shelf was dedicated to varieties of bleu cheese alone. Luckily, small notes accompanied most of the varieties explaining their flavor notes and serving suggestions. This small half-moon of Fourme D’Ambert was described as being soft, sweet and “good with pears”. For lack of any other knowledge I decided that was my cheese and took it home.
Once home I looked up a bit more about my cheese of choice and found out that Fourme D’Ambert is one of the oldest French cheeses, having been dated back to the Roman empire! Reportedly, “a likeness of the cheese can be found sculpted above the entrance to a medieval chapel in Chaulme” and “legend has it that Fourme D’Ambert cheese was known to the Druids who worshiped in the Monts de Forez in the time of the Gauls“. Suddenly my humble snack had found itself sporting quite the pedigree. It’s always a privilege to try something into which generations of craftsmanship have gone and I thoroughly enjoyed eating my own little bite of history.
Pear, Bleu Cheese, and Watercress Toast
4 slices of light, crusty bread such as sourdough
3 oz. mild, soft bleu cheese like Fourme D’Ambert
2 red Anjou pears
- Line thin slices of pear on bread, covering the surface but not overlapping the fruit. Crumble bleu cheese over the top and broil in the oven (or toaster oven) for a minute or two until cheese has melted and toast has turned lightly brown (watch it, it can burn quickly!)
- Place a few small sprigs of watercress on top and enjoy immediately.
If you are like I was and are having any reservations on this flavor combo, please try it. It is really very tasty and the textures work great together as well: the warm, soft pear and cheese are balanced by the crunch of the toast and the cool fresh watercress. As a bonus, this is a pretty healthy snack, so no guilt trip here filling up on as many slices as you wish! 🙂 Also, if you are far more experienced than I and already know you’ll love this flavor combo, perhaps you’d like the challenge of Judy’s Caramelized Pear and Brie Crostini. As part of her return to the blogosphere, the mastermind behind Domestic Goddess Adventures came up with this beautiful spin on the cheese/pear/toast theme and – coincidentally – posted her invention shortly after I had made my snack. I was happy to see that someone else was inspired in a similar way and felt vindicated in loving my flavors as much as I do, haha. Give either recipe a shot and tell me what you think!
Overall Enjoyment: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥