Top | Mother's Best
(recipe, Lisa Schroeder & Danielle Centoni)
Red wine gives these pears — an essential component of Poached Pear, Rogue River Blue Cheese, and Hazelnut Salad — a complex flavor and lovely garnet hue. They're impressive sliced and served in a salad, or you can turn them into a quick yet elegant dessert by drizzling them with syrup made from reducing the poaching liquid (see Note) and garnishing with whipped cream, crème fraîche, or vanilla ice cream. They're perfect as a dessert for an elegant brunch.
To reduce the poaching liquid to a syrup, bring it to a boil over medium-high heat in a shallow pan or sauté pan (the wider the pan, the more quickly liquids will reduce due to evaporation). Reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer until the liquid is reduced by three-quarters, 40 to 50 minutes. Allow the syrup to cool a bit. To serve, let it drip off the end of a spoon as you move your hand back and forth over the salads or dessert pears, or pour it into a squeeze bottle and drizzle the syrup over. (Look for squeeze bottles at kitchen or restaurant-supply stores. They're similar to ketchup and mustard bottles, and they give you more control so you can attempt interesting patterns and avoid blobs of sauce.)