There are over 3,000 known pear varieties grown around the world, each with a distinctive character, texture, and flavor. The most popular and recognizable pears are the yellow Bartlett, with a true pear shape, followed by the elegant, egg-shaped Anjou, (also called d’Anjou), the graceful Bosc, pudgy Comice, and tiniest Forelle. Crisp, crunchy, and sweet, U.S.-grown pears are harvested from the middle of August through the end of November and can be used in recipes from sweet-tart salads to sweeter-than-sweet pies and tarts. They’re also great simply partnered with blue cheese — Kerrygold’s Cashel Blue preferred — and a glass of wine or port.
Poached Pear and Cashel Blue Salad
A whole poached pear tops this salad made with Cashel Blue cheese and toasted walnuts. The recipe was inspired by one served at The Bishop’s Buttery in Cashel Palace Hotel, Cashel, County Tipperary.
750 ml bottle sweet white wine, such as Riesling
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp. honey
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
4 medium ripe pears, peeled, stalks left on
1 tbsp. Sherry vinegar
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
4 tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. chopped fresh tarragon
10 oz. mixed salad greens
4 oz. Cashel Blue cheese, cubed
4 oz. toasted walnuts
1. To make the pears, in a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the wine, water, sugar, vanilla pod, and seeds to a boil. Add the pears, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, covered, for 15-20 minutes, or until the pears are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. Remove the pears and stand them upright on a plate. Let cool completely; refrigerate.
2. To make the salad, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper. Slowly whisk in the oil and tarragon. Toss the greens with the dressing and divide among 4 salad plates. Place a pear in the center of the salad and sprinkle the blue cheese and walnuts around it.
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