By now you probably know that I’m working my way through Louis Eguaras’s “Eight ways to make a plate look better” which is one of 101 things he learned in culinary school and compiled in a clever little volume. So far I have practiced using negative space, avoiding flatness, and using counterpoints. Today’s strategy, painting the sauce, made me smile, and not just because it reminded me of Mr. Miyagi. I have been waiting for just the perfect dish to practice painting its sauce in a flourish of semi-artistic genius. And though I’m no Picasso (nor Bob Ross – though I bet he would have been very good at painting sauces on a plate), I think it turned out pretty well.
So, what do you think? Makes the plate look better, no?
I’ve never been much of a fan of poached pears – perhaps because the only ones I’ve ever eaten were poached in a white zinfandel wine. (White zinfandel is a wine which, despite my grandmother’s partiality towards it, I have yet to find a bottle I actually enjoyed. Recommendations welcome, but only if they’re really good). And this is really a shame because poached pears are one of the easiest fancy-looking desserts to make! So, inspired by our recent pomegranate dissection and this post, I bought one of those snazzy 16-ounce bottles of POM Wonderful juice at the store and went to town.
Pomegranate Poached Pears
– 16 oz. pomegranate juice
– 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
– pinch of freshly ground black pepper
– 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped and pod included
1. Simmer together in a saucepot until warm and gently bubbly.
– 2 Bosc pears (firm but almost soft)
2. Peel the pears and add them to the poaching liquid, whole. Simmer over medium-low heat for 30 minutes, turning occasionally.
3. Remove pears from poaching liquid and cut as desired. Spoon a small amount of goat cheese onto the plate (mascarpone, creme fraiche, whipped cream, cottage cheese, fromage d’affinois, brie, etc. – lots of cheeses would work!). Drizzle with sauce from the pan. Serve warm or chilled.
Apparently you can save the poaching liquid to make another batch. You might also consider using it to make a flavored simple syrup for jazzing up some holiday cocktails. Despite my previous aversion to poached pears, I must say, these were delicious (and healthy!). Oh, and in case you’ve never seen a poached pear before, that’s not the peel you see in the photo – the white flesh turns a lovely red from the juice.
So, next time you make a dish that has a sauce, consider going a little crazy with your presentation and you too can join the sauce-painting artists’ guild. I’d be interested to know (or see) what you come up with!