Magazine article Sunset

Pear Power: Put Their Juicy Sweetness to Work in Salad, Dessert, and Even Short Ribs

Magazine article Sunset

Pear Power: Put Their Juicy Sweetness to Work in Salad, Dessert, and Even Short Ribs

Article excerpt

COMICE PEAR CLAFOUTIS  SERVES 6 / 65 MINUTES, PLUS 15 MINUTES TO COOL  Somewhere between a custard and a pancake, you'll find clafoutis. This version of the classic French dessert, made with slightly floral Comice pears, is best when the stem end of the pears yields slightly to the touch, signaling that the fruit is flavorful but neither hard nor squishy.  Salted butter for the dish 2 firm-ripe Comice pears (1 lb. total), peeled, cored, and sliced lengthwise about 1/3 in. thick 1 cup whole milk 3 large eggs 1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp. granulated sugar 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract 1 tsp. orange zest 1/8 tsp. nutmeg, preferably freshly grated 1/4 tsp. kosher salt 1/2 cup flour Powdered sugar  1. Preheat oven to 350[degrees]. Butter a shallow 3-qt. baking dish (about 10 by 11 in.) and arrange pears in an attractive pattern over the bottom. (Fruit will rise to the top as batter bakes.)  2. Put milk, eggs, granulated sugar, vanilla, orange zest, nutmeg, salt, and flour (in this order) in a blender and whirl until very smooth and frothy, 1 minute. Pour batter over pears.  3. Bake until clafoutis is well browned and a little puffed, about 50 minutes.  4. Let clafoutis cool on a rack about 15 minutes. Serve warm, sprinkled with powdered sugar.  PER SERVING 204 Cal., 21% (42 Cal.) from fat; 5.8 g protein; 4.7 g fat (2 g sat.); 36 g carbo (2.5 g fiber); 122 mg sodium; 1 12 mg chol. LC/LS/V 

Winter wonders

The Northwest is pear country: More than 80 percent of the country's crop is grown there, including these six standouts. To ripen, let pears stand at room temperature; when the neck yields to gentle thumb pressure near the stem, the fruit is ready to eat.

ANJOU

Mild, juicy, and dense, with a subtle sweetness and green or red skin. All-purpose fruit for salads to desserts.

BOSC

Firm, dense, grainy flesh with complex flavor and honeyed sweetness. Holds its shape cooked, but also good raw.

CONCORDE

Crisp, dense, and vanilla-sweet. Slow to brown when cut. All-purpose variety.

COMICE

Luscious and juicy. Lovely on cheese plates and in salads, or baked if on the firmer side.

FORELLE

Crisp, snack-size fruit turns from green to yellow when ripe.

SECKEL

Fist-size and exceptionally sweet; excellent raw or poached.--Elaine Johnson

 RED PEAR SALAD with LEMON PARMESAN DRESSING  SERVES 4 (MAKES 2 QTS.) / 25 MINUTES  Imagine a cheese plate in salad form: sweet Red d'Anjou pears team up with sharp, nutty parmesan. Though the red pears add a pop of color, green ones work well too. Save any extra dressing as a dip for raw vegetables or to slather on bread.  1 oz. parmesan cheese, freshly and finely shredded (2/3 cup) 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 1 1/2 tsp. lemon zest 2 tbsp. lemon juice About 1/4 tsp. kosher salt About 1/4 tsp. pepper 1 large fennel bulb 1 lb. firm-ripe Red d'Anjou pears, cored and thinly sliced lengthwise 3 cups loosely packed baby arugula 1/2 cup toasted chopped hazelnuts  1. In a food processor, whirl cheese, oil, lemon zest and juice, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper until pureed.  2. Remove tops and tough outer layers from fennel. Cut bulb in half lengthwise, core, and thinly slice crosswise.  3. In a large bowl, toss pears, fennel, arugula, and hazelnuts. … 
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