Yield: 4 servings.
1 oz. sliced almonds
8 oz. French Camembert
1 oz. dried Michigan pears, julienned
2 tsp. finely chopped parsley
8 oz. clean mache
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
4 tsp. olive oil
to taste, salt
to taste, freshly ground black pepper
20 1/4" baguette croutons
To caramelize almonds: Make a simple syrup of equal parts water and sugar. Allow syrup to cool. Gently mix a 3-lb. can of sliced, blanched almonds with 4 oz. of simple syrup so almonds are fully covered. Spread almondsout on parchment-lined sheet pan, taking care they do not touch each other. Roast the almonds in a convection oven at 325°F for 5 minutes, then turn the pan around and cook for another 5 minutes until almonds are golden brown. Let cool; store in airtight container for 1-2 weeks.
Slice Camembert in 2-oz. portions.
To make vinaigrette: In a bowl, mix vinegar with salt and pepper. Whisk in olive oil and taste for seasoning.
For each serving, to order: Place a 2 oz. portion of cheese in an 8-oz. cast iron pan with a little olive oil. Put the pan in a 400°F oven for 3-4 minutes, until cheese is softened but not melted. Add 1/4 oz. dried pears and 1/4 oz. caramelized almonds. Return the pan to oven for 2 more minutes. Dress 2 oz. mache with balsamic vinaigrette and plate it. Add 5 croutons around the mache. Remove the pan and add chopped parsley and a little olive oil over the top; transfer cheese to mache.
Photo credit: Almond Board of California
Recipe credit: Chef Martial Noguier of one sixtyblue Chicago