FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PEAR BUREAU NORTHWEST RECOGNIZES PHILADELPHIA CHEF DAVID KATZ FOR MÉMÉ’S MASTERY OF THE PEAR
Editor’s note: High resolution images of chefs and pear recipes are available upon request.
PORTLAND, Ore. and Philadelphia – October 1, 2009 – With an ever-changing chalkboard menu, Mémé restaurant in Philadelphia features some of the finest and freshest ingredients available, including USA Pears. It’s this attention to detail that motivated Pear Bureau Northwest, the nonprofit association responsible for marketing USA Pears, to honor Mémé owner and Executive Chef David Katz as a featured chef in its Pear Panache program.
Pear Panache is an annual chef recognition program designed to spotlight the nation’s top crop of chefs and bartenders for their creative work with pears. Each year, seven culinary experts are chosen out of hundreds of entries for their innovative fresh pear creations.
“Chef Katz demonstrated a true knowledge of the pear,” said Kevin Moffitt, president and CEO of Pear Bureau Northwest. ”He has a mastery of the varieties and flavors of pears, and it shows in his dishes. From appetizers to entrees to desserts, the pear shines.”
Known throughout Philadelphia for his use of seasonal ingredients and minimalist creations that bring out the true flavors of each ingredient, Katz’s winning recipe, Nine-Spice Squab Breast with Roasted Pear, does just that. The recipe features a tender, flavorful bird, yet the true star of the dish is the Seckel pear. Seckel pears are a tiny, yet very sweet pear variety. Typically seen as a snack, the Seckel pear is a sweet treat for diners to see on menus.
“Pears are like a pantry item for me,” said Katz, executive chef and owner, Mémé. “They’re a staple in the restaurant during the fall and winter months. With so many varieties available, it is easy to create a new dish around the pear or to add it to a pre-existing menu item. They go so well with so many of the foods I love to cook with.”
Chef Katz began cooking at the young age of 13. After working for a number of restaurants around Philadelphia, Katz opened Mémé, a casual and intimate restaurant located in Philadelphia’s Filter Square neighborhood.
Nine-Spice Squab Breast with Roasted Pear
Makes 2 servings
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground allspice
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 tablespoon ground mustard powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 teaspoon salt
2 Seckel pears
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 whole fresh squab, breasts removed with skin intact
2 tablespoons rendered duck fat
2 tablespoon pear or champagne vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 head of curly endive (frisee), washed and dried
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley
To make the nine-spice powder, mix all of the ingredients in a dry mixing bowl. Store the mixture in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for up to 3 weeks.
To make the pears, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash and dry the pears and cut each one in half, leaving the stems intact if possible. Use a melon baller or small measuring spoon to scoop out the core of the pear from each of the four halves. Put the melted butter in a mixing bowl with the pears and toss to coat. Add the granulated sugar, salt and freshly ground black pepper and toss to distribute over pear halves.
Place the pear halves cut side down in a small baking dish and drizzle with any remaining butter in the bowl. Bake the pears for 20 to 25 minutes, turning them over halfway through the baking time. When they are ready, the tip of a small paring knife should easily pierce the flesh. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature in the baking dish.
For the squab, lightly season each breast with salt and freshly ground black pepper and dredge with about 2 teaspoons of nine-spice powder. Shake off the excess. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat with 1 tablespoon of the duck fat. Let the fat get hot, but not to the point of smoking or the spice powder will burn. Place the breasts in the pan skin side down and sear for 3 minutes before turning the breasts over. Add the other tablespoon of duck fat and use it to gently baste the skin side of the breasts 4 or 5 times while the other side cooks, about 4 minutes. Remove from the skillet and allow to cool slightly.
Make the salad while the squab is cooling. Whisk together the vinegar with the olive oil in a small mixing bowl. Lightly season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place the frisee and parsley in a separate bowl and dress with the vinaigrette. Toss to coat well.
To serve, thinly slice each squab breast into 5 to 6 pieces. Divide the salad between the centers of 2 plates. Place a pear half on either side of the salad and put 5 to 6 slices of squab breast on top of each pile of greens. Drizzle with any remaining vinaigrette.
About Pear Bureau Northwest and USA Pears
Pear Bureau Northwest is the non-profit marketing organization established in 1931 to promote the fresh USA Pears grown in Washington and Oregon. Together, these two states represent 1,600 growers and 84 percent of the nation’s fresh pear production. The Bureau also develops national and international markets for Northwest pear distribution. For more information, including fresh pear recipes, nutrition facts, and short films featuring Washington and Oregon pear growers, visit www.usapears.org.
# # #
Pear Bureau Northwest prohibits discrimination in all of its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, sex, religion, political beliefs, or disability. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact the Pear Bureau at (503) 652-9720.