Pear appreciation Society

What if you had to pick between an apple and a pear? It’s most likely you would choose the apple. Maybe because most people think of pair as a dainty fruit – hard to tell when it’s ripe, hard to know what to do with it – it is rather overlooked, nowadays.

Whilst once thought as a superior fruit: “gold to the apple’s silver” and prized for its luscious texture and exotic perfume, in present day commercial reasons limit the range of available varieties. The most widely known varieties, worldwide, seem to be Conference and Comice. Of course, the local ones like (the superstar) Williams and Perry in the UK or Krystalli and Kontoula in Greece are cherished as well. Dr Joan Morgan, who published “The Book of Pears – The Definitive History and Guide to over 500 Varieties” argues that “varieties are the footprints of a journey through the fruit’s history”. The pear case reminds us that, protecting biodiversity is not only allowing us to lead delightful lives but also protects all these wonderful journeys in history.

Searching for pear recipes, we found out that Nigel Slater is quite fond of it and has written a number of wonderful ones in his stunning book “Tender”. He contends that it is perfect when cooked with strong flavours; makes an incredible sorbet and loves cream and butter. This recipe for a pear and chocolate cake makes us super happy.

When it comes to spices, we love it with cinnamon, anise or cardamom, wonderful with blue, hard and goat’s cheeses. Great autumnal pairings include walnuts, almonds and prosciutto. Let’s not forget, it loves red wine, too.

After all these delicious ideas, you might be feeling hungry. This warm salad with the leftover chicken, is an easy way of enjoying pears while still a great answer to all those wondering whether it’s too cold for salad.

For 2 persons, you need:

2 portions of chicken, (breast or thighs, grilled or boiled), 130 gr of salad (lettuce, iceberg, spinach leaves, rocket or a combination of the above),
a pear, 4 spring onions (or a red onion),  100 g of nuts (walnuts, almonds or cashew nuts or a combination of the above), and for the vinaigrette: 2 table spoons vinegar, 60 ml evoo, half teaspoon of English mustard and a couple of drops of petimezi.

Prepare the chicken, by cutting it into bite size pieces and warming it up in the oven or the microwave. Wash, chop and toss the salad in a large serving bowl. Crush, toast and sprinkle the nuts on top. Prepare your vinaigrette by whisking all the ingredients together. Thinly slice and put the onions, both white and spring into the mix. Finally the warm pieces of chicken are added in the salad as well as the pear; which was previously thinly sliced. The slices can be sautéed with butter (optional) for a couple of minutes before added in the salad or alternatively add the pear slices raw at the end.

In case you want to enhance the pear’s flavour, you can add some red wine and rosemary while in the pan. We do love this salad with rusks; they add texture and flavour and have fewer calories than croutons.

So what do you think? If we founded a pear appreciation society, would you join us?

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