Mmm...just thinking about bacon, or anything like it, gives me happy thoughts.
I am especially happy today because I've discovered something wonderful, called Pancetta. Pancetta is... essentially ROUND bacon. You may be thinking "Fifi, who cares what shape their bacon is? What's wrong with good old bacon strips?" My answer is, there is absolutely nothing wrong with glorious, wonderful, crispy bacon strips. Bacon is a beautiful thing.
The reason I am happy about Pancetta and its "roundness" though, is that when it is cooked, it makes a perfect base for a delicious bite-size appetizer. This weekend we had the pleasure of entertaining our special friends, The Northrop Family. We tried this appetizer and I was very pleased with the outcome. I hope you try this good looking, gourmet tasting appetizer along with your favorite wine at your next dinner party!
PANCETTA CRISPS WITH GOAT CHEESE, PEAR, AND PARSLEY
1 lb pancetta, sliced thin
1 log of goat cheese
2 ripe pears, cored and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
thyme, to taste (optional)
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Place pancetta slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. (I was able to fit 15 slices per sheet.) Bake until thoroughly cooked (about 10 minutes) but keep an eye on them. There is a very fine line between cooking and burning the pancetta.
Then transfer the pancetta "crisps" to a paper towel, which will absorb any excess oil. Let them cool. In the meantime, soften up your goat cheese with a fork, and then add the small pieces of pear. Toss together until thoroughly mixed, and sprinkle with thyme, if desired. (You can do this step a few hours ahead of time and refrigerate.)
When you are ready to serve, scoop a small portion of the goat cheese mixture onto each one of the crisps, and then sprinkle them all with a little bit of parsley. (Do this step just prior to serving, because if you do it too far in advance, it tends to take away the crispiness of the pancetta.)
Transfer to a serving platter, and then you and your guests are ready to bite into the delicious happiness...