Oct 03, 2013 04:42AM
Nothing says fall like the juiciness of a Bartlett, Bosc or Comice pear.
But did you know that there are about 3,000 other varieties as well? Considered to be one of the most easily digested fruits and one of the first introduced to babies, pears are nutritional powerhouses. Next time you bite into a juicy pear, make sure to eat the skin—it contains about six grams of fiber and vitamin C.
Pears are members of the rose family of plants—which, in addition to roses, include apples, apricots, cherries, loquats, peaches, strawberries and plums—and are believed to have been brought to the U.S. by European colonists in the 1500s. Today the majority of pears come from Argentina, Chile, China, South Korea and New Zealand. Within the U.S., Washington is the biggest pear producer, with California and Oregon close behind.
HOW TO PAIR WITH WINE AND A SAVORY DISH
Often thought of as an item to pair with white wine, try pears roasted in a savory dish (alongside Cabernet Sauvignon or Barbera) and you won’t be disappointed. What’s even better is a juicy, grilled steak and a rich, luscious Cabernet served with fresh vegetables and pears. PlacerGROWN Chef Courtney McDonald has a recipe for marinated and grilled New York steaks with roasted pears and potatoes.
SELECTION AND STORAGE
When shopping for pears, make sure to select those that are firm with a smooth skin. A pear’s color doesn’t need to be uniform, and most show a little color change as they ripen. To determine a pear’s ripeness, gently press the fruit at the top, near the stem. If the area has a bit of give, it’s ripe. If the pears you select aren’t perfectly ripe when purchased, they can be placed in a paper bag on the kitchen counter at room temperature. Make sure the pears aren’t stored too close together, as this will force them to ripen too soon. Because of oxidation, once sliced, pears brown quickly. To maintain a fresh and appetizing look, add a dash of lemon, lime or orange juice to the flesh. Pears can be consumed raw, dried, canned or juiced, and pair well with sharp cheeses, chocolate, cinnamon, clove and allspice.
For a list of local Placer County farms, ranches and farmers’ markets, visit placergrown.org.
Marinated and Grilled Beef New York Steaks with Roasted Pears, Potatoes and Rosemary
Recipe By Courtney McDonald
- 6 NY strip steaks
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 shallot, sliced
- 4 sprigs rosemary
- 2 Tbsp red wine
- 2 Tbsp olive oil (mentioned twice, see above)
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 pounds small roasting potatoes, scrubbed
- 3 firm-ripe Bartlett, Bosc or El Dorado pears, peeled and diced into 1-inch chunks
- 1 large yellow onion, diced into 1-inch chunks
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Two hours ahead of cooking time, marinate the steaks. In a large, ziplock bag, place half-a-cup olive oil, three cloves smashed garlic, the sliced shallot, two sprigs rosemary and the red wine. Add the steaks and refrigerate for two hours to marinate.
Preheat the grill, and preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium-sized cast iron or other ovenproof skillet. Add the potatoes, pears, onion and remaining rosemary sprigs, and season well with salt and pepper. Transfer pan to the preheated oven and roast, stirring occasionally until potatoes are cooked through, which should be about 30 minutes.
While potatoes are roasting, remove the steaks from the marinade and season with salt and pepper. Grill to desired doneness and let rest 10 minutes before serving. To serve, spoon the roasted vegetables onto a large serving platter. Arrange the grilled steaks on top and serve immediately. Serves 6.