This delightful pear and chicken salad mixes a symphony of tastes, spices with crunch
By Bev Bennett
Depending on the variety you choose, a pear will infuse your dish with a hint of spice -- imagine cloves or nutmeg -- or a suggestion of honey.
For example, Bosc pears tastes like vanilla with a touch of cinnamon. You can tell the Bosc by its russet skin and tapered neck. Use this pear in an entree salad, topped with a curry dressing.
Bartlett is the honey of pears. You can tell the fruit by the sunny, yellow color of the skin. Bartlett pears are very delicate and should be added toward the end of cooking time.
Comice, a squat, heavy-bottomed pear, is valued for its balance of sugar and acid. It's a wonderful accent to sweet potatoes or winter squash in a puree.
No matter how you intend to use pears, you will have to plan ahead.
Unlike most fruits, pears are picked under-ripe. Set the fruit on a counter and it will continue to ripen. Take a pear check once a day. When the pear has a delightful perfumed aroma and gives to gentle pressure at the stem, it's time to get cooking.
In the following recipe, a Bosc pear highlights a simple chicken salad. The directions call for an unpeeled pear because the skin color is an attractive addition to the salad. You may peel the fruit if you prefer.
PEAR AND CHICKEN SALAD
MAKES: 2 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Combine the chicken, pear, shallot and spinach in a large bowl.
Combine the oil, vinegar, pear nectar, curry powder, salt and pepper in a cup. Stir well. Pour over the salad and toss to mix. Sprinkle on walnuts.
Note: Pear infused vinegar is available in many supermarkets. You may substitute white balsamic vinegar if you prefer.
Each serving has: 275 calories; 14 grams total fat; 17 grams protein; 19 grams carbohydrates; 36.5 milligrams cholesterol; 355 milligrams sodium and 4 grams dietary fiber.
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