Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Pick of the Week: Pears

I can't explain why, but I only eat pears when there is a bite in the air. And then I crave them, just like I crave apples in the fall. And I love writing about pears, because its variety has its own distinct flavor and use.

Common varities:
Anjou: A winter pear, colored green, yellow green or red, it is very sweet and very juicy. I toss it into my noon salad or eat it as a 3 p.m. pick-me-up.
Bartlett: The yellow variety turns from bright green to golden yellow as it ripens; the Red Bartlett turns a gorgeous scarlet. Eat it as is, prolong the season by canning, or poach it for a a meal's grand finale.
Bosc: These are definitely one of winter's best fruits. The skin is golden brown, it's flesh creamy and richly flavored. This is the pear I bake or poach throughout winter.
Comice: Not as easy to locate, but when you see them at market, pick them up. I use this variety to perk up a cheese board.
Forelle: This is a small, golden pear, with speckled skin and a sweet red blush. Great snack, and again,the perfect pear to pair with cheese.
Seckel: The tiniest pear,it is always past of the cornucopia I use to decorate out Thanksgiving table. It is one of the sweetest pears, and this holiday, while others are eating their fill of pie, I think I'll first grab a Seckel. I'll let you know how that works!

Selecting: Pears should be free of cuts and bruises. For baking, pears should be firm. Pears are ready to eat when they yield to a gentle pressure at the stem.

Storing: To ripen pears, leave them at room temperature. Once ripe, in the refrigerator they go.

The following recipe is from It really is a keeper.

Mache, Pear, Parmesan and Wild Mushroom Salad

Mâche is an heirloom green that has a mild, sweet, nutty flavor and succulent texture, making it ideal for salads. The winning combination of pears, mâche and sauteed mushrooms makes this impressive salad a perfect choice for entertaining.


  • 2 tsp. prepared Dijon mustard
  • 3 Tblsp. sherry vinegar
  • 3 oz. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • 1/2 lb. mushrooms,wild or domestic (lobster, portobello, chanterelles, etc)
  • 1 Tblsp. olive oill
  • 8 cups (2 containers) Epic Roots Mâche
  • 2 ripe red pears, halved, cored, cut lengthwise in thin slices
  • 1 cup (2 ounces) shaved Parmesan cheese
  • 1 shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • * For vinaigrette, in a small bowl, whisk mustard and vinegar until blended. Gradually add olive oil until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • * For salad, sauté mushrooms in olive oil over medium-low heat until lightly browned.
  • * In a large bowl, combine Mâche, Red Pears, mushrooms, cheese and shallots. Toss in vinaigrette, coat thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serves 6 to 8

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