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Photo Credit: David Benthal

This autumnal appetizer comes together quickly in time for those early guests. Using an artisanal bread as your base (or a homemade loaf for all the home bakers who perfected their skills this year) truly makes a difference. Ours is a golden sourdough from the one-woman-powered 1610 Bakehouse in Calverton. The rosemary honey on top is from North Breeze Farms in Jamesport. 

Serves: 4-6 people

Active Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

  • 1 sourdough loaf
  • Extra virgin olive oil (or softened butter)
  • Gorgonzola cheese, 4-7 ounces, room temperature
  • 1 ripe Bosc pear, cored and sliced
  • Spiced walnuts (see recipe below)
  • North Fork Sea Salt
  • North Breeze Farm rosemary honey
  • Pomegranate seeds or edible flowers for garnish (optional)

Slice bread in half lengthwise and lightly oil or butter the cut side. Toast until golden, either in a 375-degree oven or on a stovetop griddle pan. Layer the Gorgonzola cheese on top of the crusty side on the bread, topping it with the sliced pear. Bake another 5-10 minutes until cheese is softly melted. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with walnut pieces and drizzle with rosemary honey. Top with a few flakes of North Fork Sea Salt. Serve warm. 

Any leftover sourdough can be cubed, seasoned and baked for homemade croutons.

Spiced Walnuts

  • 2 cups raw walnuts
  • 1 egg white, beaten till soft peaks form
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine dry spices in bowl and add olive oil. Add walnuts and coat with the mixture. Add whipped egg whites and combine, coating nuts evenly with mixture. Arrange on a sheet pan and bake about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and using a spatula, stir and separate nuts. Return nuts to bake another 5-10 minutes until crisp and caramelized. Remove and let cool to room temperature.