I got a bit carried away at the markets on Saturday. All that produce and so many possibilities. Among other things, I arrived home with 5 kilograms of tomatoes (admittedly that’s not too many), a tray of figs, about a kilo of raspberries, 14 limes, five pineapples and a tub of paradise pears. These tiny pears are no bigger than a golf ball with an attractive pinkish, red blush. Growing in bunches, their short season is almost over in the Stanthorpe area which is where these came from. While they are perfect, crisp eating as is, they are so attractive it seems a shame to not make more of them. I was undecided about poaching them or including then in a tart but in the end I decided to go down a more savoury route.
Rocket and pear salad with a little blue cheese or parmesan crumbled over the top and with perhaps a few roasted walnuts is one of my favourite things to eat. These Asian spiced pears make this salad just a little more special, but they are also delicious with cold meats and cheese as part of a platter or a ploughman’s lunch. Of course it isn’t necessary to use paradise pears. Buerre Bosc pears cut into quarters would work just as well. To make sure you get the full flavour the pears should be at room temperature before you serve them.
Asian Spiced Pears
- pears (tiny ones can be halved and larger ones cut into quarters. Leave the skin on the pears. This amount of marinade would be suitable for at least 6 large pears)
- 1/3 cup kecap manis
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon Chinese five spice
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees (or about 130 degrees if your oven is fan forced). Line a baking tray with foil and place a wire rack over the tray. Mix all of the ingredients, other than the pears in a jug or a bowl. Dip each of the pear pieces in the mixture and place on the wire rack in a single layer, skin side down. You could choose to brush the pears with the soy mixture but it’s much easier and less time consuming to just dip them.
Put the tray in the oven for 30 minutes. After this time, brush the soy mixture over the pears and return to the oven for a further 30 minutes. When ready the pears should be tender and slightly caramelised. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store in the fridge.