The PEARfect Menu

By Luci


For a flawless fall feast, feature a fall fruit - pears are perfect. The menu items are interesting and pretty but simple to prepare. Delicious, too, and satisfying with the warm flavors we love when chilly weather arrives. Each course contains at least one dish with pear. Different courses use different pear varieties in different ways to showcase the versatility of pears. Look for tree-ripened pears for maximum flavor.


APPETIZERS


Seckle Pears with Mascarpone and Chives

Use a melon baller to form a hollow in each half of a Seckel pear. Fill with mascarpone mixed with chopped chives, a bit of lemon zest and some grated parmesan cheese.

Gorgonzola, Speck and Comice Pear Crostini

Peel, core and dice Comice pears, draining them if there is excessive juice. Mix with Gorgonzola cheese. Place a strip of Speck on a lightly toasted crostini and top with the cheese/pear mixture. Broil until cheese melts.

Munchies

Serve small bowls of dried fruits, including pears of course, and warmed-up roasted nuts.

Beverage

Pear cider or beer would be awesome. So would pear brandy mixed with sparkling wine or ginger ale.


SOUP

Bartlett Pear, Leek & Fennel Dolloped with Cream and Pear Brandy

Roast Bartlett pears, leeks and fennel. Simmer for 20 minutes with sautéed herbs (thyme, sage and rosemary), chicken or vegetable stock and white wine. Puree. For the dollops: whip heavy cream with a bit of salt and pear brandy.

Beverage

The white wine used in the soup. We favor a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.


ENTREÉ


Roast Pork with Cumberland Sauce

Rub a pork roast with garlic, salt and pepper. Roast. Serve with a Cumberland sauce.

Wild Rice with Maple-Caramelized Bosc Pears

Sauté small chunks of peeled Bosc pears in butter for about 5 minutes. Add maple syrup and cook over medium-high heat until pears are caramelized. Mix with cooked wild rice. Serve hot.

Broccoli Rabe

Use your favorite recipe for the rabe. Our preference is for quickly steaming moistened rabe. Put it in a skillet in which garlic was sautéed in e.v.o.o. Cover and steam for about five minutes. For the best taste and visual appeal, use just the florets with a few of the leaves just below it.

Beverage

A good, medium-bodied red wine is our preference, but many will prefer a dry white with substantial body.


SALAD


Red Pears and Arugula with Pear Vinaigrette

Slices of sweet, soft, red pear placed on green, crisp, bitter arugula produce harmonious contrasts of taste, color and texture for a simple but sophisticated salad. For pearfection, dress with pear vinegar, canola or grape seed oil, salt and pepper.


DESSERTS


Poached Pears with Vanilla Créme

For pearfect poached pears that boost peariness to a surprising height, prepare the poaching liquid with half pear nectar and half water plus vanilla. For the sauce, follow a recipe for vanilla créme.

Crisp Chocolate Cookies

For perfect contrast in taste and texture to the pale, soft, sweet pear, serve very thin, very crisp, very dark chocolate cookies. I once used thin Oreos, shown here, after a guest mentioned her passion for Oreo cookies, beloved by so many for its marvelous contrast of taste and texture.

Beverage

Pear brandy, of course. Or try a variation on Irish coffee. Use pear brandy instead of Irish whiskey and top the coffee with whipped, sweetened heavy cream mixed with the brandy.

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