Pear with Mushroom Duxelles

by BiteSizedJessica on May 5, 2010

This was a simple amuse that I came up with while in culinary school, and it has become an hors d’oeuvre that I still serve at dinner parties. Every week in one of our classes, we were each charged with conceptualizing an amuse bouche and would present it to our chef at the end of class. One requirement of the amuse was to use a technique or process we had learned while in school. I chose to use mushroom duxelles, which is a classic French method of cooking mushrooms. The mushrooms are minced and cooked with shallots, garlic and herbs to create an almost paste-like texture with a concentrated mushroom-y flavor. Typically lemon juice is used to flavor duxelles, but I used sherry instead to give the duxelles some acidity. The earthiness of the mushrooms, combined with the nutty toasted almond, sweet pear, and the tangy blue cheese complement each other well. When we put together the bite for Bite Sized, we wanted to keep as much of the organic shape of the pear as possible. We sliced the sides off of the pear and then scooped out a small hole in the fattest part of the pear slice using a melon baller. In the end, it also wound up looking like a sort of mini, edible spoon, which made it even easier to eat in one mouthful. The bite is simple but tasty and easy to put together, making it a regular fallback for me.

Ingredients (Makes 20)

Bosc pears, sliced 1/8 inch thick in whatever shape appeals to you
4 oz blue cheese, at room temperature
Almonds, toasted
Mushroom duxelles (recipe below)

For the Duxelles:

20 medium sized cremini mushrooms, minced
3 shallots, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
Sherry, to deglaze
2 tbsp olive oil
1 dried bay leaf
Small bunch thyme

Process:

    1. Start the duxelles – dice shallots and garlic, dice mushrooms. Meanwhile, allow blue cheese to come to room temperature.

    2. Sweat shallots and garlic in olive oil until lightly browned. Deglaze with sherry and reduce to au sec.

    3. Add mushrooms, bay and thyme. Season well with salt and pepper. Allow mushrooms to cook until liquid has evaporated. Transfer to a bowl to cool.

    4. Slice pears into desired shape. Slice almonds and toast in a pan with a very little oil, no more than a tablespoon.

    5. To assemble, top pears with mushrooms and blue cheese. Nestle toasted almonds into cheese and serve.

© 2010 Jonathan Meter and Jessica Hertle. All Rights Reserved.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

lori G May 5, 2010 at 5:30 pm

hello Jess..what a refreshing idea!
sounds delicious..looks inviting and keep the good work..
oh and the the photography is superbe, vraiment bien fait!
hugs..lg

Dora Ficher May 5, 2010 at 9:19 pm

Hey Jon & Jess, Great post! When I 1st saw the photo I thought it was a a real spoon. You guys are so creative!!! Good job! Everything looks very yummy! 🙂

Lily May 11, 2010 at 4:43 pm

Hi Jessica,

Paula and I had a small dinner party and tried out the pear with…It was a great hit. Someone suggested that we try poaching the pears; I am not convinced,(perhaps the suggestor’s pears were not ripe enough).

Paula and I made it though the recipe without too many concerns although we may have used too much thyme and perhaps not enough Sherry. Being from Quebec, we may have taken “au sec” a bit too literally. Your picture confirms my suspicions. Does “sweat” have a meaning different from sauté-less heat?

It was lots of fun and the compliments were satisfying. So what am I serving next weekend?

Looking forward to the next installment,

Your cuz-somewhat removed

Paula sends her regards and compliments

clutterfly May 19, 2010 at 8:47 am

Kuddos on making it to TasteSpotting within your first 10 posts! Your concept is brilliant – the experience is distilled to the essentials.

Might I suggest that you add an Index soon?

Kevin (Closet Cooking) May 25, 2010 at 10:23 pm

I would not have thought to combine mushrooms with pears but it sounds really good!

Mitsuko Gietz February 1, 2011 at 12:43 pm

Wow! Thank you! I usually wanted to publish in my web site something like that. Can i get part of your
post to my blog?

Faye September 2, 2014 at 10:37 am

Excellent recipe. Could you please let me know how long it takes in total to prepare?

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