Undoubtedly autumn is our favourite seasons of the year. We love the change of colours, the cool crisp air that makes for comfortable sleeping and of course the bounty of fruits and vegetables that can be found at the markets – its like its a last push before we close down the gardens and begin to bundle up for the winter. One of our favourite fruits that mark the beginning of the cooler weather are pears. Their subtle, sweet flavour are perfect for everything from appetizers and salads to cocktails and desserts.
Cultivated pears are a close cousin to the apple and herald back to Roman times where they were first grown in controlled settings. Today there are more than 3000 varieties grown around the world. Certain heirloom varieties are some of our favourites. Bartlett, an early ripening variety has a sturdy shelf life and is delicious in salads and eaten out of hand. Anjou, both red and green varieties with their delicious white flesh get even sweeter a few weeks off the tree; the crisp Bosc holds up beautifully when poached in red wine or baked in a tart and any of them are spectacular when pared with walnuts and blue cheese in a salad or on a dessert plate with a fine chocolate to finish. In season from late summer pears are one of the few fruits that actually improve off the tree. In fact its best to pick them while still hard and allow them to ripen on the counter for a sweet, succulent addition to all sorts of fall dishes.
Today’s recipe for Fall Salad with Roasted Pears, Stilton and Marmalade Dressing is the perfect salad to have on the Thanksgiving table. Served alongside the turkey dinner, the tender greens and bold dressing pair the best of summer with the crisp taste of fall.