Cooking With Seasonal Ingredients: Pears

Each season brings with it a set of produce that has reached the peak of freshness. Use the skills you’ve learned from your online culinary courses to create unique and stunning dishes that use these ingredients. Now that winter has arrived in full force, you have a list of fruits and vegetables at your disposal. Pears are one of the many delicious ingredients perfect for both sweet and savory meals.

About pears
You should understand the basic properties of an ingredient before you decide to work with it. Pears are from the same botanical family as apples – the rosaceae family and pyrus genus. They are a sweet fruit that is both crunchy and juicy and contains many health benefits. For example, pears are a good source of fiber, potassium, and vitamins B2, C and E. Pears contain pectin, which is a form of fiber that helps eliminate fat from the digestive system.

Pears are a delicious fruit that can be used in any number of dishes, including appetizers. Here are a few ideas of starters that utilize this ingredient:

Prosciutto wraps: Slice a pear into thin wedges, then top then with arugula and blue cheese. Wrap the three ingredients together with a thin slice of prosciutto. This simple starter is sure to be a crowd favorite. Brush the pear slices in lemon juice before wrapping them to avoid browning.

Pear-fennel salad: Cut thin slices of both pear and fennel, then drizzle with olive oil that has been seasoned with anise. Dust the dish with salt and pepper, then grate fresh pecorino cheese over the top.

Use pears as an entree ingredient to continue on your seasonal fruit theme.

Panini: Choose a fresh ciabatta roll or baguette to fill with layers of honey-covered sliced pear, arugula and cheese. You may also decide to add ham. Finish the constructed sandwich in a press, or place it in a frying pan and put a lid on top to melt the cheese.

Pork loin: Rub a pork loin with fennel and other seasonings, then roast it in the oven with pear and onion. Serve the finished pork with the produce on the side.

Make the most of pear’s natural sweetness by cooking it for dessert.

Wine poached: Peel a few pears then poach them in your favorite red wine with cinnamon sticks, sugar and vanilla bean. While they cook, whisk marscapone with cinnamon and powdered sugar. Refrigerate the pears and core them once they are cool. Finally, fill them with the marscapone mixture.

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