True life confessions: I love Asian pears. I could eat Asian pears every meal of every winter day — an off-season for most fruits, but not for these. (Also, clementines! Clementines are a December/January affair, and I regularly polish off entire crates by myself within a week. Easy to peel, seedless, sweet and bright: I’m sorry to sound like an infomercial, but what’s not to love?)
Back to Asian pears. Most other pear varietals vacillate between an unripe hardness and a sandy mush. Not these. They have the exact same crispness as Granny Smith apples, but they’re sweet. Not berry-sweet, not sugary like that — but a mellow sweetness, juicy and rich and someone just send me a lifetime supply, already.
One of my favorite things to do with Asian pears — I mean, besides hoard them and gobble them up — is this fennel blue cheese salad. And guess what kids, fennel’s in season, too. So you’re tossing together all these winter-grown, cold-earth ingredients and no one has to know. It tastes way too fresh to be December fare, I promise.
Though it is a lovely take on “winter white.”
Don’t worry too much about the proportions and rules here! Just eyeball, taste, and adjust ingredients up or down accordingly. A word to the wise: Buy two pears. You, uh, might need both! (And if not, take one up to your room and gobble accordingly. You’re welcome.)
True life confession: I am also a macro lens junkie. The end.
Raw Pear and Fennel Salad
Serves 3, generously
- One fennel bulb
- One Asian pear
- A handful of blue cheese crumbles
- A handful of chopped walnuts
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Lop the stalks off your fennel bulb and cut the bulb in half lengthwise. Slice the halves into very thin half-moons. Tip ’em all into a salad bowl.
Cut the Asian pear into thin slices. Or bite-sized cubes. However you would most like to experience the pear quotient. Add to the fennel.
To this, add the blue cheese crumbles and nuts. Toss to distribute evenly.
For dressing, squeeze one lemon and glug some olive oil, around 1/4 cup, right over the salad. Salt generously and pepper lightly. Eat up!