To stay cozy through Norway’s cold, dark winters, writer Nevada Berg warms her kitchen with nourishing meals and coffee brewed over the fire. “Winter is a great season to cook,” she says, “dishes can be heartier, many kinds of seafood and fish are at their best this time of year, and I find myself using a lot of preserved foods that are traditional to the cuisine.”
Cured pork provides a rich counterpoint to pan-fried pears in this recipe from North Wild Kitchen, Berg’s recent book chronicling the food traditions she discovered after moving to a mountain farm in Norway. “I love the combination of salty and sweet and how the textures complement each other,” Berg notes. “Not to mention how easy this recipe is to make.”
To turn the pan-fried pears into a truly Norwegian dinner, Berg serves them alongside a green salad and cheese platter. We suggest pairing them with Toni Jost Bacharacher Riesling Spatlese Feinherb.
Pan-Fried Pears Wrapped in Cured Pork with Honey and Pink Peppercorns
Recipe adapted from North Wild Kitchen, by Nevada Berg
PÆRE MED SPEKESKINKE
Salty, rich cured meat and fresh sweet fruit are a natural and balanced pairing. When pan-fried together, the crispy texture of the meat against the warm, softened flesh of the fruit brings this pairing to a whole new level. I enjoy serving these special bundles, because they’re flavorful, fresh, and quick to pull together. If you prefer, you can substitute another cured meat, such as lamb (fenalår).
Serves 4 to 6
4 large pears
8 to 16 pieces thinly sliced cured pork
2 tablespoons lightly salted butter, for frying
Crushed pink peppercorns
Cut the pears lengthwise in half. Carefully remove the cores and seeds, but leave the stems. Wrap each pear half with 1 to 2 slices of the cured pork and press the fat of the meat together to keep from it from falling off the pear.
In a large, heavy frying pan, heat the butter over medium-high heat until foaming. Add the pears, flesh-side down, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the pork is golden brown and crisp. Flip the pears and continue cooking for 2 to 3 minutes or until the other side is golden brown and crisp and the fruit is slightly soft.
Arrange the pears on a platter, sprinkle with flaky salt and crushed peppercorns, drizzle with honey, and serve immediately while still warm.
Jen Rose Smith is a freelance writer and award-winning guidebook author whose work explores travel, adventure and food. She’s currently living on the road, with a mountainous 2018 itinerary that goes from the Andes of South America to the foothills of the Spanish Pyrenees. Read more of her work at jenrosesmith.com.