The first time we had this it was at a restaurant in Italy somewhere as part of an antipasti plate…I don't remember which restaurant though…all I remember is the "wow" from this crazy concoction. At first it was a little hard to figure out what it was…pear, I think. But spicy, from what? I can't place that flavor… It was served with a sheep's milk cheese — a pear mustard sauce with the consistency of raw or slightly cristallized honey. It was delicious. Since that first time we've had it a handful of times at restaurants or wine tastings and I LOVE it. I've been popping my head into shops with little jars of things, looking for it.
The other day we walked past Eataly Florence (there are 10 Eatalys in Italy…I had no idea) so I went to to look around and found this:
It's very close to what we've been having in Florence (the flavor is basically the same), but this version has are thin slices of candied pears in it (like this one…it's a nice texture, actually) and it's got a nice spicy mustard flavor. I can eat this stuff right from the jar (which I'll have to do if we don't finish it by the time we leave on Friday morning.
However, I just found this blog entry by Eugenia Bone on the Denver Post website with a recipe (!!!) so I plan to try making it when we get home.
Pear and Mustard Jam for Cheese
Makes 1 half-pint
1 ½ lbs Anjou pears, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
1 cup water
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons Coleman’s dry mustard (if you’ve got mild and hot, mix them up)
Zest of ½ lemon
Juice of ½ lemon
Place the chopped pears and the water in a heavy bottomed saucepan and boil over a medium heat until the pears are very tender, about 15 minutes.
Puree the pears. You should have about 1-½ cups.
Return the pear puree to the pot and add the remaining ingredients. Cook over a medium low to low heat for 20 to 25 minutes, until the puree is thick and mounds on a spoon. You will have a scant cup remaining. Taste the puree — it might need a bit more lemon juice or a bit more mustard powder. Adding or subtracting lemon juice or mustard powder won’t affect the safety of the preserve.
Pour the puree into a sterile half-pint jar (to sterilize, boil the jar and band in water for 10 minutes at sea level and add 1 minute for every 1000 feet above). Simmer a new lid to soften the rubberized flange. Wipe the rim of the jar, place on the lip and screw on the band fingertip tight. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes at sea level (add 1 minute for every 1000 feet above). Remove the jar, allow to cool, and check the seal. Store in a cool, dark place. Refrigerate after opening. The jar will hold for a year. There may be some oxidizing of the puree over time. It’s okay.
Serve the jam as a condiment on a cheese plate.