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Critique my menu, please? (Really need input on the roasted pear with blue cheese...)

shanagain Dec 15, 2012 06:45 PM

We're doing beef rib roast, potatoes au gratin, roasted carrots and grilled asparagus as our "non-negotiables" but I've been tempted by roasted pear with blue cheese & walnuts with thyme (or I might go off the reservation and use rosemary instead) as another side, not a first course. (Negotiable, I may be leaning toward a first course after all now, need input.)

My dad is bringing a fantastically easy to drink Australian cabernet sauvignon (among others), Mitolo the Jester ('10, 94 rated) that I feel will be perfect with the pears, as well as the roast, of course. But please, tell me if I'm wrong about pears with beef. My gut tells me it's going to be good, but I'd definitely like any input from those of you who've tried the pear dish. (Oh, I'll probably do a few of the pears with goat cheese as my 15yo is not a blue fan yet.)

Which brings me to more roasted pears. I've decided to serve a roasted pear trifle (which will resemble no recipe ever when I'm done with it - I think I want to do a pear half on top of an amaretto-heavy trifle rather than in the trifle itself) but of course now I'm thinking it's kind of pear heavy for the entire menu.

Thoughts? I know you have 'em!

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  1. j
    janniecooks Dec 16, 2012 01:03 AM

    Wasn't it Julia Child who said that one shouldn't repeat an ingredient in a menu (other than flavoring ingredients)? I tend to agree that a major ingredient in one course shouldn't appear again in the meal. If pears have a starring role in dessert, then a pear side dish for the beef is inadvisable, especially considering that you already have planned three other side dishes.

    1. hill food Dec 16, 2012 01:40 AM

      trust your 'heavy' instincts. this isn't Iron Chef requiring the same mystery ingredient in every course.

      I dunno about pear with beef, if paired they might seem like they ought to be stand alone flavors, or a rigged fight (hedge your bets).

      salad or dessert, I have no issues. and I'd consider offering a shared cheese plate alongside the roasted or salad pear (room-softened bit of aged Taleggio? double cream Camembert? can I tempt ya?).

      1. m
        mugen Dec 16, 2012 01:46 AM

        My instinctive reaction to roasted pear with blue cheese is that the pears will become excessively sweet and will lose the crisp texture that is so important to the pairing ... but I speak from no position of authority!

        1. z
          ZoeLouise Dec 16, 2012 01:51 AM

          Make your roasted pear with blue cheese either a starter or a dessert and don't repeat the pear.
          A Carbernet Sauvignon is feasible, but a sweetish white would fit the pear and cheese far better. I would suggest a Gewürztraminer for the starter version or a Sauternes-like wine for the dessert version. Keep the red for the beef.

          1. h
            Harters Dec 16, 2012 02:53 AM

            A couple of years ago, I was in a restaurant in Spain, when every main course plate coming out of the kitchen had a poached pear on it. It didnt work on either of our plates and I'm sure it wasnt working on any other plate being served. So, on the basis of that experience, I'd recommmend keeping it well away from the roast beef.

            That said the pear, blue cheese, walnut combination is pretty much a classic starter which will work really well. Even better, IMO, would be to serve it as the dessert course.

            1. roxlet Dec 16, 2012 05:42 AM

              Your menu is very close to our menu...with the exception of the roasted pears. For me, the pears don't really seem like they go with roast beef, and serving pears in two successive courses is a bit too much. If you're committed to that recipe, I'd do it as a starter.

              1. l
                landsli Dec 16, 2012 06:42 AM

                If you are having a pear dessert, then you should avoid a pear appetizer. Very simple decision. Looks like you need something light/bright for an appetizer -- you could do an arugula or other dark greens salad with a warm goat cheese round or bruschetta.

                1 Reply
                1. re: landsli
                  c
                  chloebell Dec 16, 2012 06:47 AM

                  At Thanksgiving I served roasted pears w/ blue cheese & walnuts. For dessert. I think what all the others have said on here is straight on.

                2. shanagain Dec 16, 2012 07:45 AM

                  Thanks, everyone, I truly appreciate the input! I'm going to save the pear/cheese for another time, because I am pretty committed to the pear amaretto trifle.

                  So, perhaps just a pretty salad w pomegranate (I know, done to death, but I love them for Christmas) for the start. We'll have been snacking earlier in the day, so the idea of something acidic and bright works well.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: shanagain
                    hotoynoodle Dec 16, 2012 09:12 AM

                    agreed about the pears. :)

                    a salad of slivered raw fennel, watercress, clementine, pomegranate & spiced nuts, with a sharp vinaigrette, would be a nice palate kick-start to dinner.

                    1. re: hotoynoodle
                      shanagain Dec 16, 2012 09:18 AM

                      Ooh, the clementine is a great addition! I'll have to see what greens are available (oh, west Texas) but I definitely like the citrus angle. (Also, Chow... I truly love this site.)

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