President and First Lady Obama held their third state dinner this week, hosting Hu Jintao, President of China. They pulled out all the stops—Michelle worked with event planners to schedule some of the nation’s best jazz musicians to entertain, and decorators decked out the Blue and Red Rooms with a custom motif. Most impressively, Michelle knows how to plan a seasonal, carefully sourced menu. Their first course: “D’Anjou Pear Salad with Farmstead Goat Cheese, Fennel, Black Walnuts, and White Balsamic.”
I was happy the White House chose to kick things off with a pear salad, of course, and what a salad it is! Anjou (or D’Anjou) pears are in season through the spring, and they’re a great complement to any winter salad. Available in green or red, the pears are sweet, yet firm, with a hint of citrus flavor.
If you want to re-create the decadent salad, we have a recipe for you! Try our Mache, Roasted Pear, and Fennel Salad with Port Vinaigrette. Topped with some goat cheese crumbles, it makes a salad fit for a president!
After some additional research, er, Google searching, I discovered that this wasn’t the first time the Obamas included pears on a state dinner menu. In 2009, the prime minister of India and his wife paid a visit to the White House, and their menu included Pear Tatin among the desserts. This Starkrimson Pear Cinnamon Cake recipe comes close. With its upside-down approach, the pears become beautifully caramelized, creating a beautiful dish!
For a more authentic version, I’ll refer you to the pros: Martha Stewart and Saveur magazine. The next time you host a dinner party, think of USA Pears. They’re an elegant fruit that can be included in any—or every—course!