Bosc Pears in Red Wine
I've got a recipe from Epicurious I'm going to try and today bought a bag of Bosc pears at Costco.
The recipe calls for " firm but ripe pears" ... I know Bosc are pretty firm (and stay firm) and I can't decide if I can make this tomorrow.
It's hard for me to figure out, other pears gets overripe too quickly before I can get around to them and I think Bosc are supposed to be better for this dish. Any advice?
Since you didn't post the recipe, I'm going to assume it is a standard pear simmered in wine recipe. Bosc pears hold their firmness better for that type of recipe than say, a bartlett pear which is my pear of choice for any recipe. It has more flavor and is a juicy pear but will break down faster than a Bosc. FWIW, if you keep pears in the fridge, they'll last longer no matter what kind you have.
Totally agree with Cheryl, the firm Bosc is best for poaching. I tried Comice once, I said once, those tender pears are better for eating out of hand or sauce, which is what I got when I attempted to poach them. Live and learn.
For an attractive presentation when peeling, peel down in even strips from stem to blossom end, rotating the pear while peeling. They look more rustic that way. You can use a vegetable peeler but a sharp paring knife, while removing a little more pear than a peeler will, gives you an even more rustic style. You can leave a bit of the skin around the stem end also. Cut off a small thin plank in the bottom of the pear, they'll stand up on the plate if you want that look. This is a simple presentation; you can also fan them out, serve them in halves, etc.
Here's a photo, not mine, that is somewhat of an example of the look I'm talking about, although the stips of skin were not removed evenly. If you want a different look in mind, google "photos of poached pears" for other presentation ideas.
This photo in the link has more the look I'm talking about, but they sure don't appear to be Bosc pears:
The photo in my post are definitely Bosc, the pears in the photo in the link are too wide with no beautiful elongated "neck." Could be an Anjou or a Winter Nellis. No matter, the Bosc is best for poaching, imo.
Just a slight give from thumb pressure on the neck area should be fine, and the rest of it escondido123 has outlined very nicely for you. Remember, it's poaching, so very low simmer on the heat. A paring knife inserted in a hidden spot should slide in fairly easily but you do want a little tooth, not too, too soft. No resistance is what to look for.
One more tip, pears tend to float or poke up out of the poaching liquid. To prevent this, which can cause discoloration and uneven cooking, place a circle of parchment paper, cut just to fit inside the diameter of your pot, over and onto the pears, poke a few holes in it or cut a small hole out, to allow steam to escape. Occasionally press down on the paper gently while they're poaching to keep them submerged.