At this time of year, pears are at their perfumed and juicy best. Like avocados, pears seem to have a small window of perfect ripeness, but when you hit the right moment, you’re rewarded with that distinctly sweet, slightly grainy flesh.
How can you tell if your pears are ripe? I gently press them near the stem. If it yields to the pressure, you’re good to go. If they’re still a bit firm, just place them next to bananas to speed up ripening. Keep ripe pears in the fridge so they don’t get too soft, and keep underripe pears on the counter.
I’ve made this pear sandwich to highlight their flavor. The peppery arugula, piquant blue cheese and fragrant walnuts all bring out the pear’s delicate taste. I’ve then added a drizzle of thick, syrupy balsamic reduction glaze. I adore it’s rich sweet/sour taste. You can often find it in many stores, but if you can’t, feel free to just drizzle on a little regular balsamic vinegar.
- 2 tablespoons walnuts
- 4 slices of rye bread
- 2 tablespoons vegetarian blue cheese
- Handful of arugula
- 1 small pear sliced
- 1 teaspoon balsamic glaze or standard balsamic vinegar
- Toast the walnuts in a dry frying pan over a medium heat, tossing often, until the nuts are golden and fragrant, then allow them to to cool. Transfer the nuts to a small blender or food processor and whiz until fine, or crush them in a mortar and pestle.
- Toast the bread and allow it to cool, then spread it with the blue cheese. Top with arugula and slices of pear. Drizzle with a little balsamic and sprinkle with the walnut dust. Enjoy immediately.