My husband comes home one day after doing some grocery shopping and says, “I have a surprise for you!”
I’m all for celebrating uniqueness but really…whose décor fits with these neon colors? And then a couple of days later I placed a bowl of fresh produce next to them on the table and they actually looked great together!
So I’ve come to like this Carnevale-inspired combination. Who doesn’t need some brightening up in January anyway, right?
Another way to brighten up January? Pickles, you say? Why of course – until spring we must make do with root vegetables, wintry greens and roasted meats and what better way to liven up our dinner tables than with some pickles! This is the challenge put forward by Naomi Devlin of “Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free”…
…and you know I love a challenge!
So what to do…the possibilities are truly varied. The first recipe that came to mind was a family recipe for pickled watermelon rinds. But here we are in the middle of winter with not a watermelon to be found and no desire to eat one…
But wait, why limit myself – there are lots of variations…sauerkraut, kimchi, relishes, chutneys, piccalillis… I love peering through glass jars of pickles to discover what’s floating inside –colors, textures, shapes and sizes play against each other, adding to the mystery and anticipation of the unique flavor that awaits our taste buds.
So I thought it might be fun to do something with an Italian twist: “Agrodolce” – that quirky combination of sour and sweet that complements so nicely. And no, you cannot call it (sensitive readers may cover their ears now) “sweet and sour” sauce. Horror! Don’t get me wrong, I like sweet and sour chicken as much as the next gal. But with my nose raised to the sky I will say that an agrodolce is so much more sophisticated. Use this term with friends outside the culinary universe and your talents will be revered and never questioned again.
So I offer you my recipe for Pear Rosemary Agrodolce. Makes a salad magnificent. So simple, really – 20 minutes max.
I like to leave the skins on the pears for both color and texture.
Also, I would have used fresh grapes but I had some in my freezer that I wanted to finish up.
Here it is, already done. Be sure to turn the pears over once or twice for even cooking.
Also pairs (hee, hee! ) wonderfully with pork roasts or chops.
As always, gluten-free and allergy-friendly! Enjoy!
PEAR ROSEMARY AGRODOLCE
20-25 red grapes
2 Tbsp raisins
2 Tbsp brandy
¼ cup maple syrup
½ cup apple cider vinegar*
1 fresh sprig of rosemary
1) Place the raisins and brandy in a small bowl and set aside.
2) Core and slice the pears into wedges.
3) Place maple syrup and vinegar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
4) Add the pears and the rosemary to the saucepan. Turn the pears occasionally to ensure even cooking until the liquid has become syrupy and the pears have softened, about 15 minutes.
5) Add the grapes and raisins, with the brandy, and cook until alcohol has evaporated and the liquid becomes syrupy again.
6) Place in a pretty serving bowl, pat yourself on the back for your achievement and decide whether you’re going to actually serve your pear rosemary agrodolce with something or just savor it on its own.
Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.
*Reminder: For those of you avoiding corn, do not use white vinegar as this is almost always derived from corn.