Pears

Here in the Northwest, we are lucky to have so many varieties of scrumptious pears! Red Bartlett’s, Bosc, Seckel, Concorde…each one different and oh-so-delicious!

Pears are known to be sweet and juicy, but did you know they can shine in savory dishes too? I love to cut them into thick wedges and toss with a little olive oil, balsamic, and seasoning. Then roast on a sheet pan in a HOT oven until they are golden delicious. The smoky, sweet flavor pairs perfectly with roast chicken or on a crostini with some gorgonzola for an easy appetizer.

But my favorite way to use roasted pears is in my Endive Salad with Roasted Pears, Hazelnuts, Blue Cheese & D’Lish Cranberry Vinaigrette! It’s always a crowd pleaser at my dinner table.

I also love to use them in a quick and easy fresh relish. Simply mix together diced pears, shallot, a touch of honey and a splash of red wine vinegar. Toss it with fresh mint and just like that- you have an amazing addition to curry dishes or grilled lamb.

Grilled pears are also tasty as a base to a sophisticated sundae- topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a drizzle of salted caramel, red wine syrup and some toasted hazelnuts. Yum- that’s my kind of dessert!

So next time you’re at the grocery store, grab some pears and get creative in your kitchen!
–Kathy

Endive Salad with Roasted Pears, Hazelnuts, Blue Cheese & D’Lish Cranberry Vinaigrette
Makes 4 to 6 servings

Pears
2 unpeeled ripe but firm pears
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 head baby frisée
2 heads Belgian endive
1 small head radicchio, sliced (about 2 cups)
4 cups baby arugula
D’Lish Cranberry Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted, skinned, and coarsely chopped

To roast the pears, preheat an oven to 500°F. Cut the pears into eighths lengthwise. Core, then cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Whisk the remaining ingredients in a large bowl, then gently toss the pears in the mixture.

Spread the pears on a rimmed baking sheet lightly sprayed with vegetable-oil cooking spray and roast for 7 to 10 minutes, or until lightly caramelized. You can make the pears up to 1 day in advance. If you do, cool them thoroughly before refrigerating, then bring to room temperature about 1 hour before serving.

To finish the salad, cut the root end and about 1 inch of the top off the frisée. Rinse the frisée thoroughly, separate the head into leaves, and spin dry. Cut the stem ends off the endive, halve the heads lengthwise, then cut lengthwise into thin strips. Toss the frisée and endive in a large, deep bowl with the remaining greens and about 1/2 cup of the vinaigrette.

Divide the greens among large dinner plates. Top each salad with pears, cheese, cranberries, and hazelnuts, dividing evenly. Pass additional dressing.

D’Lish Cranberry Vinaigrette
Makes 1 1/2 cups

2/3 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup white wine vinegar or distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup orange juice
3/4 cup vegetable oil or very light olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Combine the cranberries, sugar, and vinegar in a small nonreactive saucepan and cook over medium heat until the cranberries pop, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
Purée the mixture in a blender, then blend in the mustard and orange juice. With the machine running, gradually drizzle in the oil. The dressing should become smooth and emulsified. Blend in the salt and pepper. Refrigerate until needed.

Chef’s Note: If you are having a big dinner party during the holidays, the entire recipe can easily be doubled. And, if you are tight on time, you can substitute sliced fresh pears or apples for the roasted pears.

Recipe from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table Cookbook

Posted by Kathy on September 7th, 2017  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Kathy Casey, appetizers, herbs, roasted, salads, seasonings, sides, vegetables

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