BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Pears are often grown in backyards or home orchards in Louisiana. The abundance of this fruit lends itself to many interesting cooked pear recipes. This salad combines the sweet pear flavor with crisp, fresh spinach.
NOTE: If cooking pears are not available at your grocer, use any firm fruit and sauté only until tender, being careful not to overcook.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 6 servings
6 cups torn, fresh spinach
2 Louisiana pears, peeled, cored and cubed
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 cup sliced onions
½ cup sliced red bell peppers
½ cup sliced yellow bell peppers
½ cup Champagne vinegar
2 tbsps sugar
1 tsp grated orange zest
1 tsp chopped thyme
½ tsp chopped basil
salt and cracked black pepper to taste
Louisiana hot sauce to taste
Wild cooking pears are recommended for this dish; however, you may substitute any available local variety. The pears will brown once peeled and cubed. To prevent discoloration, place cubed fruit and lemon juice into a bowl until ready to cook.
In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add bacon, stirring until fat is rendered and bacon is crispy.
Mix in onions and bell peppers. Sauté 3–5 minutes or until vegetables are wilted.
Stir in cubed pears and cook until al dente. It is important for pears to have a firm texture.
Mix in vinegar, sugar, and orange zest. Bring to a low boil then reduce to simmer.
Season to taste with thyme and basil, then season with salt, pepper, and hot sauce to taste.
Place spinach in a large salad bowl and pour pear mixture over greens. Toss quickly and serve immediately.