This title sounds more complicated than the dish itself, really.
Sourdough bread reminds me of my childhood best friends’ and their family (they are brothers). Their mum always used to make sourdough in a way I have never been able to replicate, with a prefect degree of acidity and saltiness. She used to pack a couple of slices with organic peanut butter for our school lunch; it was delicious, even though I also had a slight aversion towards it, since other children used to have sweet snacks with them. We always were the weird foreigners who live on the top of the mountains, and they often thought me and my friends were brothers and sister just because we were all Dutch.
Anyway, after these childhood traumas *cough* *-not-* *cough*, I started making sourdough bread myself a couple of years ago. Making a starter is not as hard as one might think and it just needs a little attention during the first ten days, then you are all ready to make your own sourdough bread. Patience is key and that for me has never been a problem. You can, in fact, let the dough rise overnight and you can put the bread in the oven first thing in the morning and after half an hour you will have your wonderful homemade sourdough bread! That’s not that hard, is it?
That is exactly what I did this morning. I woke up, I turned the oven on, I washed my face, came back to the kitchen, put the bread in the oven, crawled up in bed another half an hour and, waited until the delicious smell filled my room, got up and had a few slices of freshly baked spelt bread. How awesome is that? The perfect way of starting a Sunday.
There was another reason, though, behind me making that bread today. I wanted to make Crostini with Caramelized Pear and Goat Cheese from Ottolenghi’s cookbook Plenty. Of course, I had to change the recipe, so here is my version:
Crostini with Caramelized Pear, Feta and Thyme (for two people)
4 thick slices of sourdough bread (I used half spelt and half rye)
1 pear (not too ripe, still compact)
15 g Goat Feta
4 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic
1 tsp honey
some thyme (to decorate)
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven at 200 C. in a small bowl combine a pinch of salt, a pinch of pepper, the chopped garlic clove and 2 TBSP olive oil. Brush the mixture on the slices of bread and put in the oven for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut the pear in longitudinal slices. Put the slices in a bowl and add the other half of the olive oil and the honey. Place a grill pan on the heat and when it’s hot place the slices in the pan carefully. When grilling stripes will form on one side, flip them over and wait until the stripes will appear on the other side as well.
Allow the bread slices to cool down a bit, but leave the oven on. Put the pear slices on the bread, then crumble some feta on top. Put in the oven for another 4 minutes until the cheese starts to melt slightly.
Plate and decorate with some thyme leaves which will not only be a decoration, but will also add some flavor to the dish.