A Surprising Pairing (Pearing?)

by Marina Chotzinoff

I get about seven or eight food magazines—the arrival of which fills me with glee. If I can’t miraculously find a few moments to myself to enjoy them on a weekend or week night I shamelessly shut myself in the bathroom for what might seem an alarming amount of time just so I can flip through the latest one. And I have had a method for years for devouring them.

First I flip through front to back browsing recipes and articles marking pages for anything (recipe, travel story, product) that catches my interest. Then I will go back to the articles and read them when I have time and review any recipes I thought might be good. Sometimes I wonder if someone is sneaking into my house to dog ear recipes I can’t imagine having considered. Finally, when I have a bazillion stacks of magazines (mingled with all of my husband‘s Fine Woodworking and tool catalogs) I revisit the selections one more time. I rip out anything promising (either just as an inspiration reminder or something I want to try verbatim) and stick them into the front of a giant binder. A couple times a year I sit down and weed out all of those yet again and put the keepers into categorized folders.

Before you think that sounds terribly organized, stop. Mostly it is just cramming ripped out pages into the front of that binder. And, in truth, there are only a handful of recipes in there that I refer to and make time and again. I can’t honestly remember the last time I just flipped through looking for something to make. Mostly I am a winging it kind of cook so I could probably save myself the trouble. And yet….

So despite the fact that I rarely make these recipes, there are occasions when I do. Like today. I saved this Eggplant, Pear and Pecorino salad from Food & Wine. It was almost one of those recipes I thought someone else had saved. While I love all those ingredients, the idea of eggplant and pear TOGETHER was really weird to me and not exactly appetizing. But something made me want to try it. As luck would have it, my friend from Paonia was visiting last week and brought the motherload of western slope produce as a house gift. So I just happened to have eggplant (mine are done in the garden), an amazing pear, some wonderful semi-soft goat cheese and some parsley.

The eggplant gets grilled, then topped with a red wine vinaigrette. I used sherry vinegar because that is what I had. You then add the pears which have been briefly cooked in butter and cognac (!!!), sprinkle with walnuts (I used pecans), pecorino (I used that goat cheese) and parsley and chives and honey. I have to say it was wonderful. I also threw on some rosted cauliflower I just harvested which was a great match. I am a believer.

    2 comments on “A Surprising Pairing (Pearing?)

    1. Dina on said:

      Hi Marina, looks like a great dish. Cauliflower has been prominent in my kitchen as well. You are in Denver? my son lives there. I may contact you for foodie insights next time I come to visit him.
      Ciao,
      Dina

    2. Marina Chotzinoff on said:

      Thanks and absolutely! Let me know next time you are in town.

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