French Butter Pears

I bought these beautiful French Butter pears at the downtown Sacramento Farmers’ Market last week from the same rancher that I bought the Seckle pears from, Hood Ranch. Considered an heirloom variety, these pears, also known as Buerre Hardy, originated in France around 1820. They grow well here in Northern California and Oregon.

Considered one of the best tasting varieties, they are sweet, smooth-textured and very juicy. You can use them as a cooking pear, sliced fresh into salads, served with cheese as an appetizer or, just eaten out of hand.

Since pears don’t ripen well on the tree, they will benefit from a few days of being stored on your countertop. Just stand them upright on a kitchen towel until they are slightly soft to the touch. Ripe pears should be stored in the refrigerator for no more than a day or two.

So, now you know about the French Butter pear. Now, let’s talk about a nice way to use them in a recipe. Since it’s been pretty wet and cold out I thought that a nice grilled pear and cheese sandwich would be good for lunch. In checking around, I found a recipe in the Williams-Sonoma collection. This one was a little more complex than I wanted so, I just used it as a model.

Here’s my version: Slice up the pear, remove the seeds and peel (you can also leave it on), and sauté it in a little butter until slightly softened. Spread butter on one side of two slices of bread. I used sliced sourdough. On the un-buttered side, place the sautéed pears and some slices of Brie. Top with the other slice of bread and grill in a fry pan until browned, and the cheese is melted.

Wonderful lunch.