Pear Blue Cheese Yam Appetizers (Thanksgiving Recipe)

Pear Blue Cheese Yam Appetizers (Thanksgiving Recipe) Recipe

This recipe was heavily inspired by my childhood BFF Alexia's soon-to-be husband Olivier. While we were in Paris, my husband Lulu, baby Aria and I visited Alexia and Olivier, who also have a baby girl just a few months younger than Aria. Our meeting was so pleasant, as usual, and Olivier, who is an incredibly talented cook, treated us to a wonderful lunch tasting menu that day. One of the items was blini topped with pear and blue cheese. The dish was very well balanced and I told him at the time that I would make my own version and post it on Pham Fatale when I got back home. So Olivier, c’est pour toi (this is for you)!

Given that Thanksgiving is just around the corner, I decided to adapt the appetizer to use roasted yams instead of blinis. I thought the crunch and natural sweetness from the yam would marry wonderfully with the soft pears and pungent blue cheese, and it did! Additionally, I spread the yams with a thin layer of Anaheim pepper chutney and topped them with walnuts for more crunch.

Yesterday, after receiving several emails from friends notifying me that my first cookbook, "Haute Potato", is already "in stock" on Amazon and, I contacted my publisher. Indeed, both are shipping my book early on pre-order, which is wonderful news if you're looking for potato dishes for Thanksgiving or Christmas. So if you're planning on cooking a lot of potato dishes for the holidays, consider "Haute Potato" for gourmet potato dish recipes. The official publication date is still December 18th, which is the date my book hits the shelves in bookstores. 

Tomorrow I’ll make some suggestions of recipes from my book that I think would be perfect for Thanksgiving. Stay tuned!

Jacqueline Pham
Here are some pics from our day with Alexia, Olivier and Alice. Aria was very whiny, as you can tell by the photos. And Lulu kept bugging Alexia about how little Alice resembled her. Good times!


Yields: 16 appetizers

4 yams
1 tablespoon salted butter, softened to room temperature
2 tablespoons olive oil (or any other vegetable oil)
2 Beurré Bosc pears, ripe
2 Anaheim green peppers
1 clove garlic, crushed, peeled and coarsely chopped
¼ cup olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
½ teaspoon salt
1 slice Fourme d'Ambert blue cheese, as needed
¼ cup coarsely chopped walnuts, roasted


For the Anaheim pepper chutney: 

Place a grill on the stove, then char all the skin of the green peppers until it forms blisters. Wrap in aluminum foil. Let cool for about 10 minutes. Wash the peppers under running water, the skin will come right off. Seed, then finely chop them. Note: remember not to rub your eyes after touching chile pepper seeds.

In a mortar and pestle, combine the green Anaheim peppers, garlic and salt until it forms a thick paste.

Heat 1 tablespoons oil in a small pan. Add the onions. Cook over medium-high heat for 5-8 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent the onion from burning, until the color is almost golden. Add the garlic chile mixture and 2-3 tablespoons water. Cover the pan and cook over low heat until the raw garlic flavor is gone. Adjust the seasoning if necessary. Let cook until the chutney is thickened. Set aside and let cool completely.

Prepping the yams:

In a small bowl, combine the butter with the remaining olive oil.

Wash the yams. Cut them into slices about 1"-thick. Place them in a small pot. Add enough cold water to barely cover them; that way they won't darken.  Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium-high (if you cook the yams at a roaring boil, they will fall apart). Cook for about  15-18 minutes. The yams should be fork-tender but still firm. Remove from the pot. Drain them thoroughly and let them cool a little. Once they're cool enough to handle and have dried, create 16 yam disks using a circle cutter, discarding the skin. 

Roasting the yams:

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Brush all sides of the yam pieces with melted butter and oil mixture.

Line a baking pan with a sheet of parchment paper. Place the bite-sized yam appetizers onto the baking pan.

Roast for about 25-30 minutes. When there's a slightly golden crust, flip the yams.

Prepping the pears: 

While the yams are roasting, prep the pears (5 minutes before the yams are fully cooked). Trim, peel, halve, core and cut the pears into small slices. 

Assembly time:

Cut the blue cheese into small rectangles.

Open the oven. Spread a thin layer of chile chuntey over the roasted yams, garnish with the pear sliced and place the baking pan back in the oven. Roast at 425°F for 15 minutes.

At the end, to get a caramelized look, change the setting to broil for about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat; open the oven, top with a piece of blue cheese and return to the oven. The remaining heat from the will melt the cheese while maintaining its shape.

Note: You can transfer the rest of the chile chutney to a small jar and store it in the refrigerator; it will store up to 2-3 days.

Garnish with walnuts.

Serve warm.

Bon appétit!


I used Anaheim peppers for the spread. They're usually used in their less mature, green form and they're considered very "mild" chiles. They're rated at 300–600 on the Scoville scale of heat, compared to habanero at 100-500k and the Bhut Jolokia ghost pepper at 855k-1 mil.  

I used Fourme d'Ambert, which is a raw cow's milk cheese. The cheese has a firm texture with a pungent taste. You could use Gorgonzola cheese, Saint-Agur blue cheese, Bleu d'Auvergne or Roquefort as well. If you like to use other cheeses, you could also use chèvre (goat cheese) or feta cheese. If you decide to go with milder cheeses, you might want to add a sprinkle sea salt.

Walnuts (or any nuts) are another common ingredient paired with pears.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on November 13, 2012.


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