I serve dishes that include Indian spices several times a week, so I also make a lot of chutney. Some I put up in Mason jars for the dead of winter, while others (made primarily with cilantro and mint) are lacto-fermented. When autumn comes, however, and the first pears appear in the market, I love making fresh pear chutney. Last night we had this with pauljoseph’s fried fish, wrapped in freshly made roti with slices of roast eggplant. Tomorrow, we’ll have it with Merrill’s Saag Paneer. Use whatever just-ripe pears you have on hand. It’s also delicious with Asian pears. Enjoy!! ;o) - AntoniaJames —AntoniaJames
Test Kitchen Notes
Having studied AJ's carefully written recipes for over two years now, I have concluded she is one seriously terrific home chef. Her fresh pear chutney is no exception. Contrary by nature, I had to resist my impulse to tinker with her ingredients which came together perfectly. I was tempted to add a little diced jalapeno, but that might have overwhelmed the delicate flavor - and then it would be a salsa, right? This is a "keeper" and has been added to my recipe file. My husband thinks cilantro tastes like soap, so I ate the whole batch and called it lunch. Thumbs up! - Lizthechef —Lizthechef
2 medium shallot lobes, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon neutral oil
1 garlic clove, minced
Juice of ½ lime
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Pinch turbinado sugar
Tiny pinch of ground cumin
2 pears, cored and coarsely chopped (peeling is optional)
¾ cup peeled and coarsely chopped cucumber
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
Freshly ground pepper (preferably white)
In This Recipe
Gently saute the sliced shallots in the vegetable oil with a tiny pinch of salt until the thin edges become light brown. Add the garlic and cook for another thirty seconds or so, stirring all the while.
Remove the shallots and garlic from the pan, pressing to release into the pan the oil in which they cooked, and put them in the bowl in which you plan to make the chutney. Add the lime juice and vinegar to the pan with the infused oil, along with the sugar, and whisk to combine.
Put the pears and cucumber in the bowl with the shallots and gently toss. Sprinkle the cumin over them, then pour the dressing on.
Add the chopped cilantro and gently toss again. Test for salt and correct. Add a few grinds of white pepper.
Let it sit for at least 30 minutes before serving. This is best at room temperature, and if you’re serving company, it’s best served no more than 4 or 5 hours after you make it. (The fruit breaks down a bit if held much longer.)
When I'm not working (negotiating transactions for internet companies), or outside enjoying the gorgeous surroundings here in the San Francisco Bay Area, I'm likely to be cooking, shopping for food, planning my next culinary experiment, or researching, voraciously, whatever interests me. In my kitchen, no matter what I am doing -- and I actually don't mind cleaning up -- I am deeply grateful for having the means to create, share with others and eat great food. Life is very good. ;o)