My friend – the fantastic Sofia at Papaya Pieces – and I are teaming up once a month to feature a fantastic ingredient. One recipe will come from Papaya Pieces, located in Barcelona, Spain, and the other will found here, at Curls and Carrots, in Albuquerque New Mexico. This month’s special letter is: “P.” We have decided that the chosen ingredient is pear. Sofia will be featuring a succulent Lamb Liver with Pear, Pepper and Jamón Serrano recipe. Curls and carrots will unveil a Perfect Pear Persimmon Salad with Parsley Vinaigrette.
Pears are one of my favorite foods. They are sweet, succulent and versatile. Pears can be used in soups, purées, salads, stuffings… the list goes on. Plus, the fruit is nutritious; pears are very high in dietary fiber and a good source of minerals such as copper, potassium, manganese, iron and magnesium. They are rich B-complex vitamins such as folates, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and pyridoxine (vitamin B6), as well as vitamins C and E. So, they are tasty and have health benefits.
It seems as if there are as many types of pears in North America as there are species of butterflies. I am so curious about what types of pears are grown in Sofia’s Spain – or where you live! I love all pears and do not discriminate. However, I try to purchase local produce. The pears regularly available in Albuquerque at my local Co-Op are the generally crisp, brown bosc and light green, honeyed d’anjou pear. I eat them on their own for a snack – or put them in a delicious salad… Such as “Pear Persimmon Salad with Parsley Vinaigrette!”
This salad pays homage to delicious pears found in New Mexico, as well as the adorable orange, baby persimmons also grown in this state. Cherries and figs are always a perfect pair for pears. Dried, bing cherries and two dried types of figs are used in the salad: soft, glacé Turkish figs and rich, chocolate-colored mission figs. Earthy rosemary grows wild like a weed here. A few sprigs must be strewn about.
Cherries and Figs are not currently in season here, but the local fruits are dried and sold year round. Organic, juicy roma tomatoes are slightly acidic and a brilliant red – they offset the sweetness of the persimmon and contribute a mesmerizing aesthetic. The unapologetically garlic forward, deep green dressing is flavorful and bright. It is bursting with salubrious, fresh green parsley – and its vibrant, unexpected green hue is a gorgeous visual contrast to the red tomatoes.
This salad is elevated when paired with a robust, slightly sweet, floral wine. The Apothic White is blended in California and displays notes of honey and melon. Given its low price, it is shockingly rich, medium-bodied, complex and smooth.
On a side-note, thank you to Abba for my wonderful, new candle holders and place mats he gave me for Hanukkah. They are featured in these photos. He said it is his way of supporting this blog – showing his belief in me as a growing writer, photographer and recipe developer – and enthusiasm for the wonderful friends and connections I make through blogging. What a thoughtful, kind gift!
I must admit, I am glad that Sofia picked pears for our first ingredient challenge. After all of the Thanksgiving and Hanukkah bounty, I am craving fruits and vegetables. Do you have a favorite recipe that highlights the scrumptious pear? I challenge you to develop a recipe featuring pears – or share an old favorite.
Garlicky Parsley Vinaigrette
The perfect mix of garlic and herbs combine in a light, delectable dressing. It also serves as a fantastic marinade for any protein.
3 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2-3 large cloves of garlic, per your preference
1/2 cup chopped parsley leaves
3 Tbsp. chopped shallots
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. floral honey
1/2 cup champagne vinegar
1/2 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
- In a food processor, process the Dijon, garlic, parsley, shallots, salt and pepper until the mixture is finely chopped.
- With the motor running, add the honey and vinegar.
- With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil.
- Allow the motor to run for about one minute more to completely emulsify the vinaigrette.
- Enjoy on your favorite salad – or use to marinate fish and poultry.
Perfect Pear Persimmon Salad
One of my favorite Fall treats: a sweet, savory, seasonal and scrumptious salad made of the best, most fresh, local ingredients.
Makes one large salad for a lunch or light dinner. Serve with a toasted baguette slathered with a fabulous chevré.
2 heaping handfuls of fresh, green baby spinach
1 local, crisp pear, such as d’anjou or bosc, diced
1 small orange New Mexico persimmon – or any variety available to you locally, diced
1 small, organic red roma tomato, diced
3 very thin slices of sweet yellow or vidalia onion, or any sweet onion that is available to you locally
2 baby portabella mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 heaping Tbsp. bing cherries, dried
4 organic brown Turkish or tema figs, dried and sliced
2 organic black mission figs, dried and sliced
2 – 3 Tbsp. “garlicy parsley vinaigrette”
A few sprigs of rosemary, torn into fine pieces
salt and pepper, to taste
Optional: a fillet of salmon or tofu, marinated in garlic and rosemary and grilled to perfection
©Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, shannaward.com (2013), unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author, Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, and/or owner is strictly and completely prohibited.