This year concluded my decade-plus run of not touching Asian pears. It’s not like there is anything particularly wrong with them, but on my exceedingly scientific hierarchy of fruits I wish to consume, they don’t rank terribly highly.
When my grandparents moved into their new house (well, new about 14 years ago), they happened to have an Asian pear tree in the backyard. After tasting one of the crunchy, juicy, delicately flavored fruits for the first time, I hoped this tree would mean and endless supply of fruit for a few solid months. And that’s exactly what it meant. That tree produced pounds and pounds of Asian pears – more than we could possibly eat. By the end of the season, most members of my family decided they never needed to eat another Asian pear again, and thus my unplanned abstinence from Asian pears began.
Lately the produce trucks (with which I have a love-hate relationship – I LOVE that they bring cheap, fresh produce to my street but I HATE that they blast a recorded spiel about they’re selling at 7:00 AM) have been full of Asian pears roughly the size of my head. They’re sweet and crisp and divine, and Mike is head over heels for them. So we buy them by the bag and keep a steady supply in the fridge.
While it’s rare that they aren’t devoured within hours of purchase, the other day, one wayward pear remained on a shelf. I pulled some lettuce out of the crisper, toasted some walnuts, and whisked together a honey balsamic vinaigrette. The acid in the vinegar played well off the sweet pear, and are toasted nuts ever a bad choice in a salad? (Okay, yes, but it’s rare). I think Asian pears may now be moving up in the ranks of my favorite fruits.
Asian pear, thinly sliced
1 part balsamic vinegar
1 part honey
1 part olive oil
Toast the walnuts in a dry skillet, shaking occasionally, until fragrant.
Wash and dry the lettuce, and tear into bite sized pieces. Place in a large bowl.
Whisk together the dressing ingredients, add as much as desired to the lettuce, and toss well.
Place the lettuce on individual plates, then top with a few slices of pear and a sprinkling of walnuts.