Best Bites: Solera's Pear Crostini

September 26 2012, 10:30 AM

If there's one thing about Goose Sorensen's cooking that I've always liked, it's his ability to incorporate seasonal ingredients in surprising ways. (To date, one of my favorite entrées is duck confit with kumquats, which briefly appeared on Solera Restaurant's menu nine years ago). This was the case last week when I stopped in for dinner and ordered the pear crostini.

The special has garnered so much attention that Sorensen says it's going on the menu today—at least until his pear supply runs out. The fruit comes from a neighbor's 18-year-old tree and once fully ripened, the pears taste similar to Bosch but sweeter. (Sorensen isn't sure which variety of pear they are, and no one he's asked knows either.) He splits the fruit into two batches: one for poaching in a simple syrup with star anise and a cinnamon stick, the other for pickling in white vinegar, sugar, salt, and the liquid from Spanish papyrus peppers ("for a little spice").

For the dish, he grills Grateful Bread Company's ciabbata, places poached pear slices on top, and tops those with St. André (a rich and silky triple-cream cow's milk cheese) and salt and pepper. After a quick melt in the oven, Sorensen garnishes with the crostini with arugula (tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper) and matchsticks of the pickled pear.

"This is a great appetizer for this time of year," Sorensen says. With flavors that evoke both summer and fall, I have to agree. Sorensen expects his pear supply to dwindle within a couple of weeks, so stop by Solera and order the dish while you still can. 

5410 E. Colfax Ave., 303-388-8429