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Best pears for salad

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.

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  1. 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. 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

          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.

        2. 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

            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

              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

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

                1. re: HillJ

                  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

                    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

                      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

                        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

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

                          1. re: opinionatedchef

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

              2. re: HillJ

                Oh this one sounds so wonderful too.

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

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

                  1. 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.

                    http://mykoreankitchen.com/wp-content...
                    http://media.maangchi.com/wp-content/...
                    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia...

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: hannaone

                      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

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

                    2. 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.