Poached pear, arugula and ricotta blintz

October 16, 2008 4:11:03 PM PDT
The executive chef from Village California Bistro & Wine Bar at Santana Row, David Starr, shares a recipe for poached pear, arugula and ricotta blintz.

Poached Pear, Arugula, & Ricotta Blintz with Port Reduction

To Poach the Pears:
- 4 ea Bartlett Pears (another pear can be substituted depending on availability)
- 1-750 ml bottle of port
- ½ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 shallot rough chopped
- 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
- 4 sprigs of fresh Thyme
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick

Method- Peel the pears and put all of the ingredients in a medium sized pot. Turn on to medium heat and let them come to a soft boil, then turn the heat to low and simmer the pears until tender. (About 45 min.) Careful not to over cook, or you will have pear puree. When they are tender, spoon them out of the liquid onto something so they can chill in the Fridge. Reserve the liquid (You will need it for the sauce)

For the Crepe Shells:
-10 oz 2% Milk
- 6 oz whole eggs
- 1 oz Vegetable Oil
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 4 oz All Purpose Flour

Method- Place all of the wet ingredients in a medium sized metal bowl. Mix with a stiff wisk until they are combined well. Add the salt and sugar and wisk again. After the salt and sugar slowly add the flour while you are wisking. Once all of the ingredients are together, refrigerate for 30 min. After the batter has rested, warm a 7-8 inch Teflon coated omelet pan and some non-stick spray, ladle in 1 oz of crepe batter and tilt the pan to cover the bottom evenly with batter. Cook on one side until the batter sets, then using a hi-temp rubber spatula, gently lift one side of the crepe so you can grab it and flip it. Cook it on the other side for another minute then its done. You should yield about 12 crepe shells.

Now that we have the hard part done It's time to assemble the Blintz. Quarter the pears, then carefully cut the center portion of the pear off, then dice the quarters about ¼ inch in size. You will need about 2 cups of Ricotta cheese, and a handful of Arugula. In a bowl mix the diced pears, ricotta, and about half of the Arugula together. Lay out your crepe shell, spoon in 3 tablespoons or so of the mixture then fold one side over, wrap up the ends then continue to roll the other side (kinda like a burrito). You should be able to get at least ten blintz out of this recipe. When you are ready to eat, put them in a 300 degree oven for about ten minutes or until warmed through.

For the Port Reduction Strain the poaching liquid through a fine meshed sieve into a small pot. Reduce the liquid on medium heat until it is a light syrup. Be careful not to over reduce because when it cools it will become glue. On a plate, lay a bit of the Arugula down, place a couple of warm blintz's on the Arugula, then drizzle the port reduction over the top and Enjoy!

About Chef David Starr:
He started washing dishes at a busy chain restaurant when I was 16 years old in my native Vallejo Ca. After awhile worked my way to prep cook, then line cook. It was then that I got really interested in cooking. Even when I was a kid I watched cooking shows when I was home sick from school, not cartoons. So once I decided I wanted to cook I got the opportunity to cook at Silverado Country Club in Napa. That's when I started seeing really nice food and knew that this is what I wanted to do for a living. After about 9 months working garde manger at Silverado I got an offer to work a grill station at a small restaurant in St. Helena. I worked there for 3 months until it closed but learned a lot from the chef and sous chef. From there I worked at a restaurant and winery in Sacramento called Frasinetti's for a couple of years. Nothing special just a job cooking. I left Sacramento to go back home when my girlfriends mom told me about an add in the paper for cooks wanted at Brix Restaurant in Yountville. I knew a manager and a couple of servers that worked there, so I applied and got a job. I must say Brix was the place that really opened my eyes to the culinary world. I worked with great chefs including Exec Chef Ryan Jackson who has been my mentor starting out and eventually gave me my first sous chef position. I worked at Brix for 4 years and learned the importance of fresh seasonal cuisine. We had a large seasonal garden on the property so I got pick what I wanted to use that day for our Daily additions. After I left Brix, I went to Domaine Chandon for 3 months just as a cook to hone my skills before I got the opportunity to come to San Jose to the Village Bistro. I've been at the Village now for almost a year. I started out as the executive sous chef then took over as executive chef in late December 07.

Village California Bistro & Wine Bar
378 Santana Row, #1035
San Jose, CA 95128
Website: www.thevillagebistro.net
408.248.9091

Event Info:
The Pear & Wine Festival
Sunday, October 19
378 Santana Row
San Jose, CA 95128


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