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Alan Tangren: Choose Asian Pears and Enjoy Autumn

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Dear Alan: As autumn approaches, fruit choices diminish fairly quickly. What do you look for at this time of year?

Alan: So far I’m using pears to bring diversity to the fruit bowl. It has a crispy texture and a sweet and mild taste. But they look more like apples than pears.

Asian pears are not as sour as typical apples and pears, so the sweet taste seems subdued. The crunchy texture is often accentuated by the gritty “stone” cells that are part of the genetics of many pears, and is sometimes referred to as sand pears.

European pears need to be picked before ripening to get the right texture and flavor. However, Asian pears are completely ripe on the tree and can be kept very well in the refrigerator.

During the gold rush, Asian pears came to California with Chinese immigrants. However, we grow just a few of the more than 3,000 named varieties that are highly regarded in Japan and China.

During the gold rush, Asian pears came to California with Chinese immigrants. However, we grow just a few of the more than 3,000 named varieties that are highly regarded in Japan and China.

Probably the most popular variety here and in Japan is the 20th century. It embraces all the good quality of Asian pears. Sweet, slightly sour, crispy and juicy meat. Light yellow skin is vulnerable and should be handled with care.

You may also find a new Seiki. It’s a little stiffer and coarser. The longevity tower is a tan reddish-brown skin with a butterscotch-like scent.

The Chinese variety Ya Li is one of the few pear-shaped varieties. The skin is green even when it is ripe. It has smoother flesh and fewer stone cells than some other varieties. So, to get what you like, it’s important to taste it in the market.

Asian pears begin to hit the market in midsummer, but will be available in the fall. It is easy to choose because it can be eaten immediately after harvesting. Choose fruits that are hard but not hard. There are no bruise or holes on the skin.

If you’re in the farmer’s market, look for taste, as each variety has different levels of sugar, texture, and flavor. Asian pears are well kept at cool room temperature for about a week. In other cases, improve air circulation and refrigerate.

Asian pears are easy to prepare. Peel like an apple, remove the core, and cut into wedges or slices.

Like all pears, Asian pears start to turn brown as soon as they are cut and peeled and should be served immediately. What’s in the salad can be added with a small amount of lemon juice or vinegar to prevent it from burning.

My favorite use of pears is autumn salad. It goes well with bitter vegetables such as arugula and chicory. Add lightly toasted walnuts and hazelnuts, then add crunch or crumble cheese.

Wedges are served with prosciutto and other salted meat. They are delicious with blue striped cheeses like Roquefort and Gorgonzola. Try it with soft and ripe Camembert or brie.

One of my favorite combinations as the first course before a rich meal is an Asian pear and walnut salad.

Pear and new walnut salad

New crop walnut with shell shell

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

Salt and pepper

olive cup olive oil

Lemon juice (optional)

3 pear

4 Belgian endive

Preheat the oven to 350 ° F.

Remove the walnuts from the shell and carefully extract the meat to keep it in half if possible. Spread on the top plate, toast in the oven, turn golden and have a nutty aroma. It only takes a little over 5 minutes.

Place it on a clean kitchen towel and gently rub it to remove any part of the skin.

Mix vinegar, salt, pepper and olive oil. Taste, squeeze lemon juice if necessary.

When ready to serve, peel the pears, core and slice. Cut the endive in half, remove the core, and cut vertically. Throw a pear, endive with a vinaigrette, and crumble with walnuts.

Arrange them on a small plate and put them out immediately.

Chef Alan Tangren has been a chef in the Chez Panisse kitchen in Berkeley for 22 years, eight of which have been Chez Panisse foragers. He teaches cooking classes and directs the monthly chef’s table at the Tess Kitchen Store on 115 Mill Street in Grass Valley. Detail is http://www.tesskitchenstore.com.. Contact him [email protected]..

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