We first tasted this delicious starter at a hotel in Val D’Aosta, in the north west of Italy. Whilst the recipe per se may not be part of Val D’Aosta’s traditional cuisine, the original ingredients used by the hotel’s chef certainly are: Reinette apples and Reinhold Speck, a kind of aromatic cured bacon.
This dish is so unusual that it looks extremely fancy and classy, even though it is incredibly easy to prepare and its ingredients can be sourced almost anywhere.
Serves: 2 | Preparation time; 15 mins | Cooking time: 3 mins
- Green apples: 2
- Fresh goat cheese: 80 g
- Cured bacon: 40 g
- Pine nuts: 10 to 15
- Lemon juice: of about half a lemon
- Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO): to taste
- Salt and pepper: to taste
Rinse the apples with cold water and dry them carefully. Use an apple-corer to eliminate the core of the apple and then excavate the pulp from inside to create space for the filling. Set aside the pulp in a bowl and don’t forget to mix it with a few drops of lemon juice to make sure it doesn’t turn black. Use a kitchen brush to also spread some lemon juice on the cut parts of the apples to prevent them from turning black.
Sear the pulp in a pan for a maximum of 2 minutes and then leave it to cool at room temperature. Cut the bacon in thin slices and lightly toast it in a pan until crisp. Toast the pine nuts in the same pan and then roughly chop them in smaller pieces.
Mix together in a bowl the goat cheese, the pulp, the pine nuts, the bacon, a pinch of salt and a drizzle of EVOO, stirring thoroughly until the mixture is homogeneous and smooth.
Use a teaspoon to gently fill up each apple with the cheese and bacon cream, then drizzle some olive oil and sprinkle a bit of freshly ground pepper on top.
Tip: Don’t forget to set aside some pine nuts and some bacon to garnish the apples!