Spiced Pear with Fresh Figs, Cured Ham, Arugula, and Fresh Whole Milk Ricotta
Yields 2 appetizer servings
from Chef Aaron Cross of Fossett's Restaurant, Charlottesville, VA
2 cups apple cider
2 cups white wine
2 tablespoons garam masala
1 cup honey
3 pears, peeled
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
12 fresh figs
2 cups fresh whole milk ricotta
2 lemons, zested and juiced
¼ pounds arugula
2 ounces balsamic vinegar
12–15 slices Surryano cured ham, sliced extra thin, or other cured ham
Salt and pepper, to taste
In a 2-quart saucepot, bring cider, white wine, garam masala, and honey to a simmer. Add pears simmer for 20–30 minutes, until pears are just tender but not mushy. Remove from liquid and cool in refrigerator.
Toss oranges in vegetable oil and grill to char, about 10–12 minutes. Remove from grill and cool. When cool enough to handle, peel outside rind off and remove pith with a paring knife. See aside, reserving rind.
Slice figs into quarters and see aside. Mix ricotta with lemon juice and zest. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Take pears from fridge and split each in half. Use a small melon baller to remove seed core. With a paring knife, cut thin slices, ¾ of the way lengthwise up the pear carefully, making sure not to cut through the top, and fan flat for presentation.
Spoon two scoops of ricotta mix on both ends of serving dish. Toss figs and arugula in balsamic vinegar and lay in center. Place burnt orange rind throughout dish. Lay fanned pear over top and tuck morsels of cured ham throughout. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and fresh cracked pepper and serve.