Pears grilled with pecorino

    17 min

    Many cuisines have long traditions of combining fruit with cheese. This recipe stems from the Tuscan combination of juicy pears with salty ewe's milk called pecorino. With some of the cheese melted over the pears and the rest combined with cool grapes and salad leaves, this makes a stylish first course, or light main dish for two.

    2 people made this

    Serves: 4 

    • 55 g (2 oz) pecorino cheese
    • 1 bunch of watercress, about 55 g (2 oz), leaves removed from stalks
    • 115 g (4 oz) rocket leaves
    • 55 g (2 oz) seedless green grapes, halved
    • 2 dessert pears
    • Balsamic vinaigrette
    • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 tbsp best-quality balsamic vinegar
    • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
    • pinch of caster sugar
    • salt and pepper

    Prep:15min  ›  Cook:2min  ›  Ready in:17min 

    1. First make the dressing. Put the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste into a small screw-top jar. Screw on the lid and shake all the ingredients together until well blended. Keep the dressing in the fridge until needed.
    2. Preheat the grill to high. Place a strip of cooking foil on a baking tray and set aside.
    3. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the pecorino cheese into fine shavings. Reserve half of these and finely chop the remainder. Put the watercress, rocket leaves and grapes into a salad bowl and toss together.
    4. Peel, halve and core the pears. Arrange the pear halves, cut sides down, on the foil strip. Top the pears with the shavings of cheese, slightly overlapping them. Place under the grill, about 15 cm (6 in) from the heat, and grill for 2 minutes or until the cheese just starts to bubble and turn golden.
    5. Meanwhile, shake the dressing, pour it over the salad and toss to coat the leaves. Add the chopped pecorino. Divide the salad equally among 4 plates.
    6. Using a fish slice, carefully transfer one pear half to each plate, placing it on top of the bed of dressed salad. Serve at once.

    Each serving provides

    Good source of vitamin C. Useful source of calcium, folate, vitamin A, vitamin B12.

    Some more ideas

    Use diced kiwi fruit instead of grapes. * Parmesan cheese, another Italian firm cheese, is suitable for this recipe and it has less fat. * If you are in a hurry, just chop the pears and toss them in the salad with all the cheese. * Substitute baby spinach leaves for the rocket. * Grill the pear halves cut side up, then sprinkle a blue cheese, such as Shropshire blue, into the cavities and grill until it melts. * A creamy goat's cheese could be used in a fruit and cheese salad instead of high-fat pecorino. Goat's cheese has a natural affinity with fresh raspberries, so for a stylish first course, omit the pears and pecorino cheese from the recipe above and replace the balsamic vinegar in the vinaigrette with raspberry vinegar. Toss 200 g (7 oz) raspberries with the salad. Toast 8 thin slices of baguette on one side under the grill, then turn over and top with slices of goat's cheese. Grill until the cheese is bubbling, then transfer 2 slices to each plate. Dress the salad and arrange next to the cheese-topped toasts.

    Plus point

    This salad is a useful source of calcium, needed for healthy bones and teeth. The pecorino cheese, watercress and rocket all provide this vital mineral.

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