Grilled pear with spiced walnut polenta cake and tarragon orange aioli

Sat, Nov 12, 2016, 08:00

  • Serves: 6
  • Cooking Time: 25 mins
  • Course: Starter
  • Cuisine: Fusion


  • Serves six
  • 6 small or three large pears
  • 200g walnuts
  • 3tsp Chinese five spice
  • 50ml water
  • 50g brown sugar
  • 110g fine polenta (corn meal)
  • 1lt water
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1tsp Dijon mustard
  • Half clove garlic
  • 20ml cider vinegar
  • 5g fresh tarragon
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • 60ml rapeseed oil


Pre-heat an oven to 200 degrees Celsius/gas 4. Place the walnuts, five spice, brown sugar and water on a tray and mix well. Roast for 20 minutes, stirring every five minutes. Remove and set aside to cool. Roughly chop the walnuts, and reserve the finer crumb from the chopping board for later.

Bring one litre of water to the boil and add three pinches of salt. Pour in the corn meal and whisk well. Stir until it thickens, then add the larger pieces of spiced walnut and simmer for five minutes.

Add the egg yolks, vinegar, tarragon, lemon juice, garlic and mustard to a food processor and start blending. Once emulsified, slowly add the rapeseed oil. Taste and adjust the seasoning then set aside at room temperature.

Peel, core and cut the pears in half, then cut each half into three long slices. Place on a hot griddle pan to get them marked. Turn them over and then turn the heat off, but cover them with a lid. The steam cabinet you create will finish the cooking process but leave a small bite.

Tip the polenta cake out onto a chopping board and cut into large square pieces. Place them in a pre-heated oven for five minutes at 180 degrees Celsius/gas 4 to warm them up. Divide the polenta, pears and aioli between six plates then dust over each plate with some of the reserved spiced walnut crumble.