Wednesday, January 20, 2010

leftovers, part deux

Or should I say, part dos? Because I'm about to describe a delicious little shizzle that relies on a specialty ingredient from Spain. This is not a recipe, it's an idea, and a very good one.

Start with an Asian pear or two.

Peel and core the pears, then slice them into bite-sized wedges or chunks. Drizzle the chunks with the juice from one or two Meyer lemons and some olive oil (I used orange-scented oil), then sprinkle with a little bit of salt and the specialty ingredient, pimentón de la Vera. Toss the pears in this dressing and serve atop some arugula or watercress.

Or not. I had a few pieces of pear left over from Saturday night, which I ate on Sunday without any greens, and then I bought another pear, dressed it, and ate it for lunch this week, again without any greens.

When I made this on Saturday I got all of the ingredients, except for the salt and Meyer lemons, from my Greek stepmother (I'd first had the dish at her house, of course). But it was so good, I'm going to invest in my own pimentón and orange-scented olive oil.

Pimentón, or Spanish paprika, is ground from peppers that are smoked over oak fires while flamenco dancers with flowers in their hair twirl around the flames and handsome bullfighters watch from the shadows. The orange-scented olive oil my Greek stepmother says she purchased at HomeGoods. But I found both products online at Market Hall Foods. Wherever you do your shopping, be sure to buy pimentón "de la Vera," and I used agridulce, which is of medium spiciness. When you have your pimentón in hand, you could also try my boyfriend Mark Bittman's recipe for Grilled Fish With Pimentón Aioli or this Smoky Spanish Tomato Soup.

Part of what made the pears magical, versus just delicious, was the smokiness of the pimentón, but I tried a few bites as I went along, and Asian pears drizzled with Meyer lemon juice alone are delicious. I can't recommend other kinds of pears, since other kinds of pears are inevitably mealy, while Asian pears are almost always crisp.

Adios, amigos.


  1. When I first punched this up, I thought the pear was a doughnut. I'm old and my eyesight is compromised. Imagine my disappointment to discover FRUIT. Oh well, it is winter and one must cope.

  2. Sorry to disappoint. If it's any consolation, I think Asians may be the doughnuts of the pear world, and that pear salad is far better than your average cruller, that's for sure.

  3. If you buy it from La Tienda ( you have the choice of bittersweet, or agridulce, rather than just sweet or hot. In that case, you will end up buying 2 cans and I will happily take the second one off your hands.