Thursday, September 27, 2007

Asian Pears

When I was in the supermarket recently, they were promoting Asian Pears, sometimes known as Apple , and letting people try samples in the store. In case, like me, you have not tried this fruit before, the Apple Pear is a relatively new fruit to many people, although they have been grown in California since the Gold Rush days, when Chinese miners planted them in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.

They are very light and crisp in texture, and when ripe, very sweet and juicy. They reminded me of a ripe melon but with a crisp texture like an apple. I was advised that they could be kept in the refrigerator for several weeks and would not lose their flavor or texture. They are great to eat by themselves or paired with
and crackers, or in a winter like the recipe below, where the crisp textures and full flavors make a superb accompaniment to roast meats and poultry.

Winter Salad with Roquefort and Asian Pears

  • 6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 cup walnut oil
  • 1/4 cup crumbled Roquefort or other blue cheese
  • Leaves from 2 small heads romaine lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 ripe Asian pears (or other firm pear such as Bosc or Red Crimson), halved, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded, deribbed, and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  1. In the bottom of a large salad bowl, stir the red wine vinegar, mustard, and salt and pepper together.
  2. Gradually whisk in the walnut oil.
  3. Add the cheese and stir to combine.
  4. Add the lettuce, pears, red onion, and bell pepper to the bowl.
  5. Just before serving, toss gently to coat with the dressing.
  6. Sprinkle with the nuts and serve.

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