A clafoutis saved Thanksgiving Day at our house this year. While pies were being "oohed"…
A pear by any other name is simply a pear, but a Korean pear … is the regal queen of pears. Pampered from a beautiful blossom into a voluptuous, tender-skinned, blemish-free, sweet, juicy orb of golden crunchiness – no other can hold a candle to its perfection. Behold the Queen of Pears and her ladies in waiting:
Unlike Western pears, Korea’s Asian Pears are bred to have an extremely thin skin and are wrapped while still on the tree to protect their tender skin and the white tender flesh within. They are the ones you see swathed in a soft cloak of white when displayed among the commoners in the marketplace. A case of these uncommonly good pears that regale your palate with the delightful crunchiness of apples and the sweet tenderness of pears arrived at my humble abode courtesy of Melissa’s Produce.
Since that fateful day, we’ve been devouring them simply out-of-hand – we are mere peasants, after all; savoring them for breakfast like Elvis on toast with peanut butter, and making all manner of salsas, chutneys, sauces, vinaigrettes, and salads. The chutney I made is perfect for a holiday or hostess gift from the kitchen, and I loved the refreshing, crispness that the pears added to the organic green salads I crave practically on a daily basis, but especially the day after an event where I’ve indulged in too much over-the-top rich cuisine.
Korean Pear, Cranberry, Pecan Salad with Ambrosia Vinaigrette
A divine salad of sweet, crispy Korean pears and dried cranberries with toasted pecans and an ambrosial vinaigrette – perfect for every day or your holiday table.
Prep time: 10 minutes | Total time: 15 minutes | Yield: 2 servings (easily converted for more)
1 – 4.5 ounce Organic Girl Vive la France! salad mix*
1/2 Korean pear, sliced thin
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup halved pecans, toasted
1. Arrange the greens on plates. To serve two, you’ll use about half the greens and reserve the remainder in its container for another delicious salad. Top with cranberries and pecans and arrange the Korean pear slices around the plate.
2 tablespoons grape seed oil
1 tablespoon Meyer lemon oil*
1-1/2 tablespoon Winter Ambrosia vinegar*
4 grinds freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon crumbled blue cheese
1. Whisk oil, vinegar, and pepper together in a glass bowl or measuring cup. Add the blue cheese and whisk to incorporate.
* Organic Girl’s Vive la France! is a classic French mix of tender mâche rosettes, baby chard, baby arugula, and radicchio. I used Meyer lemon olive oil from We Olive and Winter Ambrosia Vinegar, a seasonal vinegar made from hand-picked apples and pears, from Chaparral Gardens.
One of my favorite ways to use fruit is as a sweet component in a savory dish, and Korean pears combined with dried cherries in a quick sauce pairs well with pork or chicken for a quick weeknight dinner. There is nothing like a warm, satisfying meal of Pan-fried Pork Tenderloin with Brown Butter Korean Pears & Cherries and Roasted Spaghetti Squash to ward off the chill of a brisk autumn day. Reminiscent of Weiner Schnitzel, this dish embodies the produce of the season with spaghetti squash sautéed with shallots and celery and Korean pears browned in butter with dried cherries and a dash of apple cider. Grab an ale and cozy up to the fire with your honey.
Can you tell I’m experimenting with artificial lighting? Our move to the beach meant transitioning to a house with limited natural light suitable for food photography. I know, can you believe it? You would think that a house at the beach would be flooded with glorious light, but with all the tall buildings jockeying for their piece of an ocean view, I actually have more of lot of things, but light is not one of them. Thanks to the Fairy Hobmother that was making the rounds many months ago, I won a gift certificate after commenting on Lora – the Cake Duchess‘ giveaway. Fortunately, I remembered it and wisely used it to purchase a set of lights from Amazon – so a very belated thank you, Fairy Hobmother.
Back to the pears: Korean Pears have a variety of uses in cooking: sliced, diced or shredded over salads, baked, or stuffed for desserts and make a flavorful alternative to any recipe traditionally made with conventional Asian Pears. Besides their crispy, sweetness and tender skin, they do not turn brown! You can literally reserve half of the pear to eat later or for another use and the flesh will still be white and fresh looking, even after a few hours or the next day. Also, while they taste like a cross between an apple and a pear, they are not a hybrid – Asian pears are native to China, Japan, and Korea. Should you cast your eyes upon these lovely ladies, gently escort them to an awaiting carriage and make haste to your stately castle before someone else does.
For more delicious ideas and recipes for Korean Pears:
Korean pear coleslaw, Gangnam style from The Jolly Tomato
Asian Pear Celery Ginger Mint Juice and Granita from Recipe Renovator
10 things to do with Korean pears from Shockingly Delicious
Honey-glazed Korean pears baked in wonton crisps with honey-cinnamon mascarpone from Cooking on the Weekends
Disclosure: I received a case of pears from Melissa’s Produce and organic salad greens from Organic Girl; the cooking, recipes, and opinions are my own.