I first realized the existence of pistachio butter when I was living in Northern California a few years back. Extremely expensive little jars of the stuff lined the shelves of fancy shops throughout Napa and Sonoma. I made it for the first time while testing recipes for my friend Joshua McFadden, the chef-owner of Ava Gene’s restaurant, which is down the street from my house in Portland. My recipe is a riff on his, and it truly is amazing. You may only get as far as slicing a perfectly ripe pear and dipping in.
1 large underripe pear, such as Green Bartlett or Anjou
4 thick slices from a loaf of artisan bread, such as levain or country wheat
Extra-virgin olive oil
Flaky sea salt
About ½ cup of something green and delicate, such as microgreens, watercress or baby arugula
How to Make It
Make the pistachio butter: Process the pistachios in a food processor until they form a thick paste. With the motor running, drizzle in ⅓ cup of water, the vinegar and salt, followed by the oil. Process until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides as needed. Taste and adjust the seasoning; the pistachio butter will be a bit thin now, but it will thicken as it stands. It will keep in the refrigerator for weeks, maybe more, but the flavor is best within the first week or so.
Make the toasts: Prepare a very hot charcoal or gas grill, or preheat a grill pan over high heat until smoking. Stand the pear up on a cutting board and trim away two of the bulbous sides, then cut it lengthwise into planks, each about ⅓ inch thick (you should be able to get 4 thick, pear-shaped slices). Trim out the center core from the slices that have it.
Brush the pear and bread slices lightly with oil and sprinkle with flaky salt. Grill the pear pieces and bread, in batches if needed, until deep grill marks appear on both sides, 1 to 2 minutes per side.
Remove the toasts and pear from the grill. Spread about 2 tablespoons of pistachio butter on each piece of toast. (Save the rest of the pistachio butter for another use.) Place a grilled pear slice on top of the pistachio butter layer on each toast. Toss the greens with a light drizzle of oil—just enough to barely coat them—then pile a mound on top of each toast. Sprinkle with flaky salt and serve.
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