A Perfect Pear-ing
By Kimberley Coughlin
December is National Pear Month and Pear Bureau Northwest is celebrating by inviting top chefs to showcase the fruit throughout December. Restaurants in Portland and Seattle are making some amazing pear-centric dishes; but unfortunately, I don't have any plans to visit the Northwest any time soon. Rather than be discouraged, I decided to take matters into my own hands (literally) and create a delicious pear dish. After all, the rest of America is eating more fruit, so I will too. Besides, why should partridges have all of the pear-related fun? Prosciutto de parma and melon is a popular combination, but I'm not mad about the consistency of melons; pears are a nice alternative. One of my favorite paninis combines thinly sliced pears, prosciutto, fontina, baby arugula and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Noticing a trend (I can thank my father for my love of cured Italian meats), I decided on this recipe for apricot-roasted pears with prosciutto from the Bonne Maman website. Since I’m still a novice in the kitchen, I like my recipes like I like my coffee - robust in flavor and not too many ingredients. Bonus points if I only have to make one stop to purchase everything. I was able to get all of the items on my list from Trader Joe’s except for the prosciutto (what can I say? I was raised to get such things from the pork store). The dish was ridiculously easy to prepare; I sliced the pears, made the apricot-coating in which I then tossed the pears, and wrapped them in prosciutto (while tasting some for myself — just to check the quality, of course). After 12 minutes in the oven at 375 degrees they were ready to eat. The pear dish alone wouldn’t have made for a main course, so my significant other contributed panko-breaded eggplant with mozzarella and tomato. Since I’m not usually one for super-sweet desserts the pears made for the perfect savory yet sweet after dinner treat. The ingredients in this recipe are easy to come by and it makes for a perfect appetizer if you’re entertaining during the holidays. Pears are a popular choice for holiday gift baskets this time of year and recipes like this are a great way to utilize them. Obviously I find prosciutto to be the perfect compliment to pears, what do you like to pair pears with?