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Best pears for salad

Island Nov 21, 2011 11:04 AM

What's the best variety of pear to use raw sliced into a simple salad with field greens, blue cheese, walnuts and a vinaigrette? I always go for that salad with crisp pear slices or chunks when out and want to make it myself, but I never eat pears otherwise and don't know what one to choose when faced with 3 or 4 varieties at the grocery store. Any suggestions? Thanks.

  1. hotoynoodle Nov 21, 2011 11:15 AM

    most restaurants use bosc pears, simply because they are widely available, but i prefer the reds for eating. let them sit a few days to ripen since most grocers have them rock hard in the bins. also toss the chunks in some lemon juice so they don't go brown instantly upon cutting.

    1. Niki in Dayton Nov 21, 2011 11:16 AM

      I frequently add pears to salads, and honestly, most of the common varieties will work (Bartlett, Bosc, Anjou). Really, the key is using pears at the right degree of ripeness. Barely ripe works better than pears that are fully ripe. I'm good at gaging the ripeness, and it's a combination of the smell of pear and the feel of the flesh, but I'm not sure how to explain it. Best bet would to buy some hard pears, keep them on the counter, and cut one open each day for a couple of days until they are sweet, a bit juicy, but still crisp and firm - that's when they are best for salads. Hope this helps.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Niki in Dayton
        Island Nov 21, 2011 01:15 PM

        Yes very helpful; thank you both!

        1. re: Niki in Dayton
          escondido123 Nov 21, 2011 04:50 PM

          I voted for oretty ripe pears of any variety. I think it adds to the flavor of the salad. And Roquefort is, in MHO, the best choice for the cheese.

          1. re: escondido123
            alkapal Nov 22, 2011 01:21 AM

            gorgonzola dolce is fabulous, too.

        2. h
          HillJ Nov 21, 2011 01:41 PM

          I dip raw slices of Bosc pear into balsamic vinegar and grill on a stove top grill pan until the edges curl and you have a nice mark then I add them to the salad. I prefer this quick grill method because the caramelized sugars taste great and the warm pears wilt the greens, slightly melt the blue cheese and just add another dimension to the salad. I never add salad dressing to a mix that contains fresh fruit.

          10 Replies
          1. re: HillJ
            opinionatedchef Nov 21, 2011 10:53 PM

            beautiful, j. another interesting thing is to slice pears thinly and sprinkle w/ ground toasted cumin and salt, and dry roast in low oven
            I really dislike the gritty texture of bartletts; we really prefer the flavor and texture of Anjou .

            1. re: opinionatedchef
              chocolatejam Nov 22, 2011 11:13 AM

              I'm happy to know this about which variety of pear too. Anjou will be my next purchase! Wow to the ground toasted cumin and salt.. Must try that one.

              1. re: opinionatedchef
                HillJ Nov 22, 2011 12:30 PM

                oh ochef, I do enjoy cumin-salt on fruit. It's wonderful on dragon fruit too.

                1. re: HillJ
                  opinionatedchef Nov 22, 2011 01:18 PM

                  i've only seen dragon fruit as a dried product at Tr Joes. I'll have to research this. I recently realized that rambutan (which i prefer even to the closely related lichee, both of which i eat canned) is available here in Asian stores, so i plan to get some soon. Funny that there's even a youtube showing how to peel it!!

                  1. re: opinionatedchef
                    HillJ Nov 22, 2011 01:23 PM

                    The Asian market here in NJ sells fresh dragon fruit. I adore anything lychee canned, fresh or dried. So you may have access at your market for the d. fruit.

                    1. re: HillJ
                      opinionatedchef Nov 22, 2011 01:59 PM

                      there is an asian-owned FroYo business up here, Mixx, that sells a mean Lychee fro yo!! lucky us! creamy and bright, authentic robust lychee flavor.
                      p.s. i didn't know lychee were sold dried.........salted, sugar dusted, or plain?

                      1. re: opinionatedchef
                        HillJ Nov 22, 2011 03:37 PM

                        More like a large raisin with a pit inside a dried shell. No sugar or salt.

                        Lychee gummie candies are also very popular treats.

                        1. re: HillJ
                          opinionatedchef Nov 22, 2011 10:41 PM

                          Mixx also has that new 'fruit caviar' in lychee flavor. have you had it?it's so fun!

                          1. re: opinionatedchef
                            HillJ Nov 23, 2011 12:56 AM

                            No I have not, but it sounds right up my alley!

              2. re: HillJ
                chocolatejam Nov 22, 2011 11:13 AM

                Oh this one sounds so wonderful too.

              3. j
                jaykayen Nov 22, 2011 11:17 AM

                I'm sorry if this is obvious, but ripe ones. Most pears in the supermarket are not ripe. Any variety is ok.

                1. e
                  Esty Nov 22, 2011 03:59 PM

                  I vote Bosc Pears for their crispiness. Slice and eat just before ripe. So good with arugula and/or sorrel.

                  1. hannaone Nov 22, 2011 04:10 PM

                    Korean Pears (Bae) are great for salads. The texture and crispness is similar to an apple, and the flavor is fantastic. You can find them in most of the larger Korean markets, and in some Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, and other Asian markets.

                    These pears are almost twice the size of the "Asian Pear" carried in some supermarkets.


                    2 Replies
                    1. re: hannaone
                      alkapal Nov 22, 2011 07:00 PM

                      i've seen those korean pears! i'd forgotten, too, about asian pears. they are really terrific! do the korean pears have that asian pear flavor, or are they sweeter?

                      1. re: alkapal
                        hannaone Nov 22, 2011 08:14 PM

                        Slightly sweeter and more of the flavor than the smaller ones.

                    2. b
                      bereccca Dec 15, 2011 08:48 PM

                      I actually vote for Warren Pears if you can get them (http://fruitmaven.com/2011/12/warren-...). More commonly, I would say Bosc or Seckel. Seckel has amazing flavor but is a small pear. If you want crisp, then I agree with other responders that the various asian pears would work.

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