Just as I was mourning the loss of our favorite summer berries, I received an email asking me to consider trying the Warren Pear from Frog Hollow Farm and sharing my opinion of the fruit if I was so inclined. The mention of Frog Hollow Farm made it an easy decision, knowing their reputation for providing local, organic fruit, especially stone fruits like peaches.
My friend Elaine, from virgoblue.net, described them as tasting like “buttah”. Really? A pear? The build up was big so I feared the reality might disappoint. Happily, it did not. It is the loveliest pear I have every bitten into – none of that mealiness we often find in a Bartlett. It explodes in your mouth with juicy smoothness but a heartiness you won’t find in a Bartlett. Other pear varieties like D’anjou and Bosc can compete on heartiness for salad making but not on texture, flavor, and juice.
The pear is named after its founder – Thomas Oscar Warren and has not caught on commercially because it is difficult to grow. Frog Hollow is one of the few commercial growers of it in the country. Its origin is Mississippi.
Truthfully, we really just wanted to eat them all plain – it almost seemed a shame to create a dessert or other course when we could just cut them up and devour. But I adore fall salads with toasty nuts, hearty cheeses, and spicy greens like arugula. So I came up with this yummy salad that is easy enough to prepare anytime, elegant enough for a dinner party, and flexible enough to modify to meet your dinner theme or family’s tastes.
If you want to try these wonderful Warren Pears, you can order them through Frog Hollow Farm (froghollow.com) or you’ll find them at Whole Foods and local farmer’s markets:
- Select Bay Area Farmers’ Markets: SF, Berkeley, Danville, Santa Cruz
- Frog Hollow Farm Cafe @ The Ferry Building
10 oz. Arugula or Mixed Greens with arugula
1 Warren Pear
1/3 cup crumbled gorgonzola, blue cheese, or sliced parmesan
1/3 cup toasted walnuts or pecans*
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste
*You can toast nuts by placing on a baking sheet in a toaster oven or in a regular oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them – they go from deliciously toasty to burnt rather quickly.
Slice the pear, skin on, into bite size pieces. Place greens on 4 salad plates, top with crumbled cheese, nuts, and pear. Salt and pepper the salad to taste.
For dressing, combine the fresh thyme, lemon juice, and zest in a small bowl, then whisk in the olive oil to combine. Be sure to taste – my amounts are approximate and depend on the size and juiciness of your lemon and flavor of your olive oil. Add salt and pepper, taste again, then dress each salad and enjoy!
Note: I received the pears for tasting for free from Frog Hollow Farm but received no compensation or input for writing this blog post. The opinions are entirely my own.