The fruit of the pero (pear tree) has always been one of my favorite foods. Una pera succosa (a juicy pear) is a joy to eat. I also like pere cotte (cooked pears) with baking being my favorite cooking method. My mother sometimes baked a whole pan of pears, unpeeled and placed upright in a few tablespoons of water and seasoned with just a sprinkling of sugar (zucchero).
While a dish of pere cotte is a delicious offering, essere una pera cotta (to be like a cooked pear) is not really a good thing: it means to be weak, flabby, un rammollito. Cascare come una pera cotta (to fall like a cooked pear) has three different meanings, depending on the context:
- to fall into a deep sleep
- to fall head over heels in love
- to fall for, be deceived by something
I am head over heels in love with pears paired with radicchio and pecans (which in Italian are called noci pecan). There is no falling asleep nor deception in this case, since I am using pere crude (raw). There is also no caramelizing of the pecans, but a simple toasting on a dry pan for a few minutes. I should probably write the recipe for this pear and radicchio salad properly, starting from the ingredients:
- 2 pears of your choice, ripe but not soft, peeled (if necessary), cored and sliced
- 1 small head of radicchio, cut into bite-size pieces
- 5-6 oz baby spinach
- 1/4 cup pecans, lightly toasted as described above and chopped
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt to taste
- freshly ground pepper to taste
Gather the first four ingredients in a salad bowl. In a small saucepan, heat vinegar and oil over low heat until they are hot, then pour over the salad and toss. Season with salt and pepper and serve at once. Multiply or divide or otherwise adjust the quantities given to accommodate your taste and the number of people around the table. The photo shows the salad the day after I prepared it, because the photos I took the same day were not nice. I like one-day-old salad and this one was no exception, though as a photo subject it is not as appealing as a freshly-made one.
This is my entry for the September edition of Heart of the Matter, a heart-healthy event hosted collaboratively by Ilva of Lucullian Delights' fame and Joanna of Joanna's Food's fame on the Heart of the Matter blog. The topic for this month is fruit and berries. Here's the round-up of HotM #7, compliments of Ilva.
Click on the button to hear me pronounce the Italian words mentioned in the post:
or launch the pera audio file [mp3].
[Depending on your set-up, the audio file will be played within the browser or by your mp3 player application. Please, contact me if you encounter any problems.]