Over here, we are still clinging to the last warm summer days whilst farm stalls are already brimming with all the autumn/fall goodies we can’t wait to devour.
This delicious appetizer perfectly sums up the in-between season feeling. It is still inherently Mediterranean to conjure the feeling of warm leisurely days whilst already providing hints of typical autumn flavours.
If you have been to Italy, you will be familiar with crostini – the small slices of toasted bread loaded with all sorts of toppings from salami to ham, cheese, vegetables and sometimes even fruits. They are a particular popular appetizer enjoyed along an aperitivo in bars and restaurants up and down the country.
The origin of Italian crostini is thought to go back to Roman times, when bread was used to scoop oil, sauces and small pieces of meat were put on the table in large pots and guest would scoop them with slices of bread. Later on, when food would be served on individual plates, the tradition of crostini survived mainly in Tuscany.
Today, the most traditional way to serve crostini would be topped with pâté made of chicken liver, olive oil, capers, anchovies and onion. The darkish colour of the pâté is the reason that in the past crostini were often called crostini neri (black crostini).
But as said before, what topping you put on top of your crostini is really up to you with the number of variations seen nearly unlimited.
Still most crostini would be drizzled with olive oil, grilled, or fried in a skillet than seasoned with sea salt and topped indeed with many different toppings. Yet even this is not set in stone any longer.
For the pear and sage crostini, I have opted for a sour cream which works better with the juicy texture of the pears. Of course, you could substitute the sour cream with a soft cheese, like gorgonzola or brie.
For the topping, juicy and sweet pears and sage leaves are wrapped in bacon and caramelized in honey. Which makes for a flavour combination to die for.
So whip them together, pour yourself a glass of prosecco and enjoy the last warm days of the fading summer in style.
Recipe: Pear and Sage Crostini
8 slices of baguette
125 g sour cream
2 tablespoons bacon cubes
1 ripe pear
½ bunch sage
8 slices bacon
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
few sticks of thyme
Preheat oven to 220°C.
Top the slices of bread with sour cream and bacon cubes. Bake for 10 minutes at the top rail of the oven until golden brown.
In the meantime, peal the pear, eliminate the seeds, and cut into 8 pieces.
Wrap each piece of pear together with 2 sage leaves with a slice of bacon.
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and slightly fry the pears from each side for 2-3 minutes. Take out of the saucepan.
Add honey to the same saucepan and let slightly caramelize. Add the pears again and fry for another 1-2 minutes until the bacon starts to get slightly crispy.
Top the baked bread with a piece of the pears, sprinkle with thyme and serve still warm.