New Year’s Eve is one of my favorite holidays because even if you’re entertaining at home, you can doll up in formal attire and throw a memorable soiree. Good friends, champagne, sparkly decor, and gourmet hors d’oeuvres create the perfect atmosphere to count down the last few minutes of the year.
However, you don’t have to stress in the kitchen all day to cook a big spread for your guests. Some of the most elegant bites are the simplest to prepare, like my pear and pancetta crostinis. They are sweet, tart, and topped off with the perfect amount of porky goodness.
Pear and Pancetta Crostini
Yields about 30 crostinins
1 baguette, sliced into about 30 1/4″ slices
Olive oil (for brushing)
3 Bartlett pears, diced
2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 lb. pancetta, diced
In a small bowl, toss the diced pear with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, lemon juice, honey, and a pinch of kosher salt. Set aside in the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Brush each baguette slice with olive oil. Then toast them on a cookie sheet until they are golden and crisp, about 10-15 minutes.
While the bread toasts, render the pancetta in skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove the pancetta from the pan to a paper towel.
When the baguette slices are cool enough to handle, but still warm, spread each slice with a healthy layer of goat cheese.
Layer two arugula leaves, a spoonful of the pear mixture, and a sprinkle of pancetta on each crostini.
The toasted baguette slices can be made up 24 hours in advance. Store in an airtight container.
Erin Krenek, BA ’06, blogs at Wave My Wooden Spoon.