PERFECTION OF THE SMOKED PEAR!
Yes, absolutely- fresh pears are available everywhere! But, smoked pears can be an unique culinary treasure deserving of rave reviews! Here’s the scoop:
Depending on where you’re located, you’ll have at least a few varieties of pears to select from. Rather than just enjoy these as a raw fruit, why not try something truly unique that will give them a kiss of wood flavoring?
Stove top smoking is so easy and a great way to still enjoy wood-fired flavorings during the winter months, when you may not want to venture out to the grill or smoker. I’ll be highlighting Bosc pears in today’s technique. To do this technique you will need:
• A stove top smoking pan set up — I’m using the Technique® Cast Iron Smoker Pan
• SmokinLicious® Minuto® Wood Chips Size #4 in your choice of wood species
• Fresh pears — 4 will likely fill the smoker pan one time
• A Chef’s knife, paring knife, and cutting board
• A cooling rack
PREPARING THE PEARS
When I purchased my Bosc pears, I made sure that they were firm to the touch so that I would have some longevity to their use in recipes for a while. Carefully, wash each pear and then pat dry with a paper towel. I then slice each pear in half, removing the stem tip. This will give me a flat surface to smoke and cook my pears since I am using a stove top grill pan with my process. That will allow me to form some great grill marks on the pears while they cook. The benefit to using halves of pear is I can feature larger pear cuts in a salad or dessert, highlighting the golden smoked color.
Once the pears are halved and the stems removed, I will core out the seeds and hard seed membrane with a small paring knife. Once that step is complete, I start the heat under my stove top smoking pan.
SETTING UP FOR SMOKING
The base smoker pan will hold the Ash Minuto® wood chips. Remember, the chips need exposure to the heat to release their flavoring. I set my burner to medium heat (a #4 setting on my stove) which is where it will stay during the entire cook. I let the pan heat for just about 5 minutes then I will be ready to add the SmokinLicious® Minuto® Wood Chips for the wood flavoring.
After heating up my base pan for the chips, I add one large handful of Minuto® Wood Chips in Size #4 from SmokinLicious®. I place a drip pan over the chips to prevent any of the pear juices from dripping directly onto the chips. Then on goes my grill pan. If you’re using a standard pot for this process, you will place foil over the chips and then place your grate or steamer insert for the pears to sit on. As my pan is large, I can seat 8 halves meat side down to the chips. Keep in mind, pears are one of the healthiest fruits having a low caloric count, 22% fiber, and high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. The skin has a particularly high phytonutrient benefit making my preference for leaving it intact valid.
Immediately, you will see just how much smoke is produced with just a handful of Minuto® Chips. Notice that the skin of the pears is taking on a very coppery finish. Although you don’t need to turn the pears during the cooking process, I have turned mine just to show the great grill marks that are developed from a 70 minute cooking time. Remember, if you have pears that are not very firm, they will require less cook time. I know mine are ready to be removed from the pan when I feel a slight give in the pear meat when I touch them with a set of tongs. Now remove to a cooling rack and start thinking about the ways to use these.
THE PERFECT FINISH
I bet these caramelized, glistening beauties are just making your mouth water! Once I cool these on a rack you’ll see how easy the skin can be removed if you should want to use just the pear meat. There are so many ways you can highlight the smoky flavor: in a smoothie, in a cocktail — think smoked pear bellini, which I will have an upcoming recipe, sliced in a salad with gorgonzola cheese and a drizzle of balsamic, anything your mind can dream up. Not only will you have a tantalizing flavor boost but you’ll reap the benefits of this very healthy fruit that even kids will love.
So, let’s hear it- three cheers for pears and how about three more for the tasty, smoked version!