Happy New Years! Here’s to a wonderful, prosperous, and joyous 2015!
If you’re hosting a big gathering or a small intimate affair, this crostini will be perfect for your New Year’s Eve shindig. In Ancient Egypt, the pomegranate was a symbol of prosperity, so what better way to start off a new year than to eat a fruit the ancients equated with good fortune.
I first fell in love with the pomegranate back in the early 90’s. Now they are all the rage. My high school boyfriend was from Cambodia and his family introduced me to this delicious but rather difficult (or so I thought) to deal with fruit. I have loved it ever since. Luckily, they taught me how to quickly open one to get at the jeweled fruit inside. Maybe I should write a post with step by step pictures on how to quickly deal with one, I bet you all do it wrong…
When deciding on the flavors for this appetizer, I wanted bold, decadent, with the right touch of sweetness. Bleu cheese, or gorgonzola is what I used, is very bold, sweet came from the pomegranate and honey, and then the decadent, well that my friends, is from the pork belly. If you have been afraid to cook a pork belly, don’t be. It’s beyond easy. If you love bacon, and who doesn’t love bacon, you will be a fan of the pork belly in no time. I know it’s not at all healthy, since we do eat a good portion of fat, but you know you’re hitting the gym anyway as part of your New Year’s Resolution, so why not indulge one last time?
- 1 baguette; sliced into 20-24 pieces
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 4 oz. cream cheese; softened
- 2 oz. bleu cheese or gorgonzola crumbles
- 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
- Pinch of black pepper
- 1/8 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 lb pork belly
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp. pomegranate seeds
- 1 tbsp. honey
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- 6-8 large Brussels sprouts
- 2 tsp. pomegranate/honey glaze for the pork belly
- Slice the baguette
- Brush with olive oil
- Place under a broiler, and toast on both sides. Watch carefully, cooks in 1-2 minutes depending on oven rack placement.
- Set aside when done.
- Combine all the ingredients in a bowl until smooth.
- Score the top of the pork belly.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper and brush with olive oil.
- Place on a rack in a pan and cook for 30 minutes at 425 degrees.
- Remove from oven, lower heat to 325 degrees.
- Juice the pomegranate seeds by hand and mix with the honey, brush the top of the pork belly and return it to the oven. Cook an additional 15-20 minutes, basting occasionally with more pomegranate/honey glaze.
- Allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
- Carefully remove leaves from the sprouts, enough for at least one leaf per crostini, two if using the smaller, inner leaves.
- In a zip-close back, toss the sprouts with the pomegranate/honey sauce, a dash of salt and pepper, and about a tablespoon of olive oil. Seal, and shake, making sure each leaf is coated.
- Place each leaf individually on a sprayed or coated baking sheet and bake for 6-8 minutes in a 350 oven, watching carefully after about 5 minutes. Leaves will go from perfect to burnt in mere seconds.
- Layer the blue cheese spread on the toasted baguette.
- Add a piece of sliced pork belly.
- Top with a Brussels sprout chip or two.
- Serve and enjoy.
Here’s some other wonderful appetizers for your NYE party. Check out what these wonderful bloggers have created for you.
The pork belly, pomegranates, gorgonzola, and Brussels sprouts were provided by Whole Foods Market at Trolley Square in Salt Lake City as part of their Utah Bloggers holiday party.