Pears are a tricky beast. Buy a bag of 6, and how many do you really eat, every time? 3? 4? All?! GTAF. I make like Nigel Slater and put four in a bowl to ripen, give those round little bottoms a little squeeze a couple of times a day, until they are perfectly ripe and giving and juicy etc etc. But then it’s 3 days later, the washing mountain is building, the kids homework is beyond late and I remember that the kids don’t really like pears. My once perfectly sweet bowl of pears are threatening to turn themselves into Lambrini Perry, scrumpy edition.
So, how to avoid the pitfalls of the mushy pear? Once they’re fermenting in the bowl, they are, well, fermenting and there’s fuck all you can do about it. (I am, right now, imagining my GCSE English teacher, Mr Lanaway, admonishing me for an over-reliance on swearing in my work. I feel expressing the frustration of wasting £2.50 and a contribution to our food waste mountain is judicious, sir. Ahem).
Anyway. Back to pears. Once they are ripe PUT THEM IN THE FRIDGE. THE FRIDGE. Right at the front SO YOU DON’T FORGET TO EAT THEM OKAY?
If your pears are a teeny bit mushy without being the whole hoopla rank, then just cook them. Yes! Cook them!
I am not a blue cheese fan. Indeed, I used to sit on the cold – real October cold – pavement outside my dad’s favourite cheese shop, holding my nose and bawking. I once asked a cheesemonger for a cheese “that isn’t really festy”. I then told *these* little lines to The Cheese Buyer of Neal’s Yard. FFS.
Anyway. If you’re looking to use up your roasted pears AND start sampling the delights of blue cheese, may I recommend this warm salad? The cheese melts onto the nuts and pears, which does the job of making pears in salad less odd AND the cheese less intense. If you think pears in salad is weird – remember StorrCupboard lovers! – tomatoes are fruits, so, you know, get over it and try it. Or wait until my 2 other recipes come out 🙂
Warm, roasted leftover pears with toasty walnuts and melty cheese? You are so welcome.
(Slightly Soft) Pear, Stilton & Walnut Salad
NOTE – this is more of a method than a *recipe* – so if you have 35 grams or 75 grams of nuts or cheese, get ’em used up x
2 pears – anything from *will NEVER ripen & I’m going on holiday tomorrow” to “oh god I’d better eat them even though they’re the wrong side of soft”
1/2 tablespoon of fat; I used pork fat for umami/keeping it cheap, but ground nut or vegetable oil would be great. Avoid olive, too strong
around 50 grams of walnuts or pecans
around 50 grams of Stilton or other blue cheese
Few handfuls of salad leaves
Tea towel/kitchen paper
10 minutes prep
30 minutes to roast pears
5 more minutes to mix
Preheat the oven to 180C
Cut your pears in half and remove the core; chop into about 3 pieces, for even cooking
*I don’t peel the pears as I think that the skin provides a nice texture, but it’s up to you*
Place on the baking sheet and drizzle the oil all over
Roughly chop the blue cheese
Place the oiled pears in the oven
Wash the salad leaves and leave to drain; either spin or pat dry with a clean tea towel
Place the salad leaves in a mixing bowl
After 20 minutes, add the nuts to the tray and coat in the oil
TIMER ON; check after 5 minutes
The nuts are done when they smell all toasty; take them out a little too soon rather than burnt
When the nuts are golden brown and the pears a little caramelised, remove from the oven
Stir the cheese into the pears and nuts on the tray
Mix the warm pear-cheese-nut goo into the salad leaves
You can store the roasted pears for between 1 and 5 days, depending on how ripe they were when you roasted them. You can roast alongside the nuts but do not store together, because the nuts will go soggy (insert joke here).
To serve from cold, bring to room temperature for a couple of hours before serving, if possible. Warm through in the oven or in a microwave, if you like.
Got a question? Ingredient you need help with? Get in touch: