Grilled Fruit 7 - Pears (Lunch)
Fruit for Lunch - Voila! The Pear!
Two different pears, actually.
Here we have a regular ol' Bartlett, bought when under-ripe (hard to do otherwise), then kept in a bag for a week. The ripeness is now just about perfect. It's hard to postpone the lunch we are about to make for a week, but the delay is worth it.
The second looks like an apple, but is actually a Red Pear. Ripened in the same fashion. This pear has a distinctly harder texture than the Bartlett, something which adds to the diversity of this lunch. Makes it more interesting. The difference in texture is not readily apparent when we look at them after the two have been halved and cored, ready for the grill.
Other pear varieties can, of course, be used in place of one or the other of these two. The Bosque Pear, for example. It is usually found right next to the Red Pears. It has a texture that is even harder still, but it's distinctive taste is worth trying on another occasion..
Port Salut cheese (shown here). Or Mozzarella (see below). We could even go whole hog and have a bit of both.
We are going to grill the pears, but not the cheese. Neither is a hard cheese, though they are not very soft either. But they wouldn't do well on the grill.
Instead we are going to use the cheese coolness to contrast with the warm pears and to provide culinary interest. Not to mention that these cheeses taste magnificent all by themselves -- they are among the great cheeses of the world.
Ready for the grill
Halve and core the pears
There's not a lot to be said about them at this point, other than that they look beautiful. We want to bring them to our preheated grill promptly, so that the only color we see on them comes from the grill.
As noted, other varieties besides the Bartlett and the Red could be used here, including the Asian pear which is quite different from the other varieties normally thought of -- but worth a try on another occasion.
On the grill
Simple as pie. Just plop them down on the grill, cut side down.
The Barlett halves will take less time than the Red Pear halves, but they both look beautiful on the grill --- do they not?
OK, here's some information about pear ripeness. - They ripen at room temperature. Oddly, they ripen faster when placed next to bananas. The skin on Bartletts changes from green to yellow as they ripen, but most varieties show no color change. Most important -- pears ripen from the inside out, so the best way to determine ripeness is to check the neck of the pear -- thumb pressure to the neck (stem end of the pear). Soft, then it is ripe. Hard or firm, leave pear at room temperature for another day or so.
Turn them over
A couple of minutes for the Bartletts, twice as much for the Reds.
Do not worry your head in the slightest about the charred or blackened parts that you see here. They fall away when you actually start eating.
Their only function is to indicate that the lovely pear has been grilled to perfection and is ready to eat. You can of course also probe the halves with a fork to determine the degree of softness you prefer.
The Bartletts here were removed at this point; the Reds left on the grill for a further minute and a half.
Perfect partners = lunch
Port Salut is a very rich cheese. It is staunchly in favor of Liberty and Fraternity (to say nothing of Sorority), but Equality is another matter -- it is richer than many other cheese, despite its origins in a monastery.*
Accordingly, a couple of pieces are sufficient to companion the grilled pear halves. Obviously, you can have more pear and/or more cheese if you are really hungry, but the portions shown here are enough to make a terrific lunch. A surprising number of flavors and textures.
* Just think of the many delicious food items we owe to those monks in those monasteries, starting with Cappuccino and Port Salut, and numerous ethereal liqueurs. Someone should write a history of monasteries as food design laboratories.
Port Salut has an interesting history, involving the French Revolution. Trappist monks created it at the abbey of Notre Dame du Port du Salut in Entrammes in northwest France. Many fled the country during the revolution and learned how to make cheese in order to survive. This knowledge they brought back with them to the abbey after their return in 1815. Society of Reunited Farmers, or "SociÃ©tÃ© Anonyme des Fermiers RÃ©unis" (S.A.F.R),.is printed even today on wheels of this cheese.
Mozzarella plays the Italian accordion to the French horn of Port Salut. The most interesting fact about it is that it is traditionally produced from the milk of the water buffalo. Water buffalo can be hard to find in other countries, however, so most mozzarella is produced in fact from cow's milk. Some cheese artisans, however, have revived the traditional method -- if we can find one. And if we can, it is worth trying, say in a taste test between the conventional and the artisanal.
Part of a series
Pictures, pictures, pictures
Series within series, actually. Food & Cooking, for example, then -- within that -- series on vegetables, fruits, seafood, meat, etc. Books, too. Ideas, too. Travel, too. Key virtues:. pictures, clear step-by-step text. Delicious -- whether foods or ideas! All of the series, and all of the items in each series, can be found at this link: Lee White's Department Store
Real Meal. Unlike fancy food mags, where images are hyped and food itself is secondary, all pix shown here are from a real meal, prepared and eaten by me and my friends. No throwing anything away till perfection is achieved. This is the real deal --- a Real Meal.