Around the Island

Salad days follow holiday feasts: Try pears to refresh the palate

Jan. 6, coming up this week, is traditionally celebrated as Little Christmas, the Feast of the Epiphany, when the Magi arrived bearing gifts, and the 12th Day of Christmas.

Perhaps it’s no coincidence that the 12 Days of Christmas culminate in the gift of a Partridge in a Pear Tree.

Among all the decadent and deeply appreciated gifts that arrived at our house this holiday season, a box of beautiful pears stood out for offering a juicy and healthful alternative to the cookies, chocolate truffles and, God help us, cheesecakes that filled our kitchen.

This refreshing fruit coaxed me away from the dangerous desserts against which, I admit, I have no will power.

After a few days of enjoying the pears with breakfasts or as afternoon snacks, we came up with some recipes to vary their uses in other meals. The most popular took some leaves of endive and radicchio, thinly sliced and charred slightly.

We laid wedges of pear atop the greens, dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette, made with the classic 3 parts olive oil to 1 part balsamic vinegar, stirred with a drop of Dijon mustard to emulsify and blend the dressing.

Crown the pear salad with crumbles of gorgonzola cheese and enjoy. Hey, I never said we were going cold turkey on delicious and decadent flavor.