Chef CJ Jacobsen’s Forest Floor Pear

pearThis is not a regular pear.  It’s not just that it’s an especially tasty variety (which it is), it’s that it smells just like hiking through a SoCal mountain trail.  It’s so aromatic that my truck cab was infused with the smell for days after transporting the pear from KCRW to my house.

How CJ did it:

Chef CJ Jacobson of Girasol in Studio City is inspired by his time working in the Noma kitchen in Copenhagen with Chef Rene Redzepi.

He steam infuses the pears with “forest floor”, a custom mixture gathered from local mountains by Pascal Bauder who also forages for Melisse and Trois Mec.  Here is how he infuses the flavor into the pear:Forest Floor

Line a roasting pan with herbs or “forest floor” materials.  Nestle the pears on top.  Cover the pears with another layer of “forest floor”.  Cover with a wet linen napkin or kitchen towel and cook at 300° degrees for 2 ½ hours or until aroma has transferred to the fruit and the pears are just barely tender. 

Chef CJ serves the Forest Floor Pears with Burrata, Crispy Lentils and Red Frill Mustard Greens.

What I did with the pear:

I have to admit that I held onto the pear for several days pondering what to do with it.  I carried it between the refrigerator and my desk where it was like a fruit mascot permeating the air with a potpourri-like aroma.  Then I realized that it would be fantastic with butternut squash.  There is a warm spice aroma to “forest floor” that reminds me of cinnamon or mace mixed with black pepper.  So I roasted the squash and mashed it with almond milk.  I cut up the pear and sautéed it in butter until the butter became just light nutty brown.  I added the brown butter to the mashed squash, put it in an oven to table dish and arranged the sautéed aromatic pear on top.  If you don’t have an infused forest floor pear available (who does?!) use a good farmers market pear (not soft) and add a pinch of warm spices.