HILLTOP 1892’S NAME has literal origins: in 1892, Daniel Hayden completed construction of his hilltop home. Later owners of the building, experimenting with serving food there in the 1930s, mutated between various eatery iterations — restaurant, coffee shop, cafe — until settling on the California country menu that draws crowds today. In the kitchen of the historic estate is chef Todd Davies, who began his culinary career at the River Cafe in New York after graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. Davies soon found a home in the Bay Area, doing stints as a chef and restaurant owner in places like San Francisco and Palo Alto and eventually crossing the bridge to become a partner and executive chef at the Lark Creek Inn in 1996. And as we food-lovers know, once you come to Marin County, it’s difficult to leave. “Being a chef in Marin means having access to some of the best quality products in the world — from the myriad cheeses made in Northern California to beautiful produce to locally caught fish and locally raised meat. It is truly great to be a chef here,” Davies says. Here, he shares a recipe for a sweet and savory appetizer ideal for your next dinner party. hilltop1892.com
Roasted Pears With Prosciutto
- 3 pears, ripe but firm
- 3 ounces Point Reyes Farmstead blue cheese
- ½ cup walnuts
- 1/3 cup dried cherries
- ½ cup Seka Hills Elderberry balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 12 thin slices of prosciutto
- 1 cup baby arugula
- Microgreens for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Peel pears and cut in half, removing cores with a melon baller. Slice off the very bottom of the halved pears and lay halves in a roasting pan.
- Combine blue cheese, walnuts and dried cherries in a small bowl. Mound the mixture over each pear half, filling the core holes.
- In the same small bowl, combine the vinegars, water and brown sugar, stirring until sugar is mostly dissolved. Pour mixture over pears and place in oven.
- Baste the pears every 5 minutes until tender, around 20–30 minutes. Remove pears from oven and place halves on six separate plates.
- Combine the cooking liquid in the bottom of the pan with olive oil and lemon juice to create a vinaigrette.
- Lay two slices of prosciutto on each plate.
- Toss baby arugula with vinaigrette.
- Garnish plates with arugula and microgreens, drizzle entire dish with remaining vinaigrette and serve.
This article originally appeared in Marin Magazine’s print edition with the headline: “A Room With a View”.