Crisp Asian pears start or end a meal with delicate flavor

Cooking for Two

Avocado adds a delicious touch to grilled tuna

January 05, 2003|By Bev Bennett | By Bev Bennett,Special to the Sun

Asian pears -- the large, round, elegantly shaped fruit -- have the fragrance of a fruit tree in full bloom and the flavor of a charming wine from Alsace. What a precious treat. Is it any wonder the pears are displayed like the gems of the produce counter?

Choose Asian pears carefully. Look for fruit that is bruise- and blemish-free, with no soft spots. The pear should be firm, but not rock hard.

For an easy dessert, thinly slice Asian pears into wedges and serve with roasted walnuts and a glass of dessert wine. To whet your appetite before a meal, blend Asian pears into a frothy aperitif. Pear Daiquiri, made with rum and pear-flavored eau de vie, is a luscious liquid distillation of the fruit. As you sip, prepare an entree of broiled Tuna Steaks With Avocado Hash, which is still another delicious way to include more fruits and vegetables in your meals.

Distributed by the Los Angeles Times Syndicate International, a division of Tribune Media Services.

Pear Daiquiri

Makes 2 servings

1 medium ripe Asian pear

ice cubes

3 ounces light rum

3 ounces pear eau de vie

2 teaspoons lemon juice

Cut 2 thin wedges from pear and set aside for garnish. Peel, core and chop rest of pear and puree in blender or food processor. You should have about 1/2 cup pear puree.

In a shaker, combine 2 ice cubes, pear puree, rum, eau de vie and lemon juice. Shake well. Strain into two margarita or martini glasses. Garnish each with pear wedge.

Tuna Steaks With Avocado Hash

Makes 2 servings

Avocado Hash (recipe follows)

two 6- to 8-ounce tuna steaks, cut 3/4 - to 1-inch thick

1/2 teaspoon coarsely crushed pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons olive oil

2 lime wedges

Prepare Avocado Hash and set aside while making tuna.

Place tuna on a plate and press 1/4 teaspoon pepper into each steak. Season each with 1/4 teaspoon salt and brush with 1 teaspoon oil.

Place tuna on broiler pan and broil 3 inches from heat, allowing 4 minutes per side. Remove from broiler. Place 1 steak on each of 2 plates. Either top with hash or serve on the side. Garnish plates with lime wedges.

Avocado Hash

Makes about 1 cup

1 medium ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and finely diced

1 1/2 teaspoons lime juice

2 tablespoons minced chives

1 tablespoon minced basil

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

In bowl, combine avocado, lime juice, chives, basil, salt and pepper. Mix well.

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