The First Day of Christmas... Cooking Through the Twelve Days of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me ...

A winter green salad on a roasted pear tree!

Bosc pears stay crisp, and because of that, are excellent for grilling or roasting. I love serving a roasted pear half next to a chicken leg... often I will roast pears right along the chicken in the oven or the clay pot.

TO ROAST BOSC PEARS ON A SHEET PAN: Set oven to 450. Drizzle a little olive oil on the bottom of the pan and rub the cut side of each pear half in the oil. Roast uncovered for 20-25 minutes, until the bottoms are caramelized and the tops are slightly soft to the touch. Happy Flavor Combo: throw a halved fennel bulb onto the sheet pan with the pears; roast them in the same way you do the pears.

HERE'S A SWEET MAPLE-BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE that goes great with pears, fennel bulb and wintry greens like arugula or spinach: 1 minced shallot, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey, 2 tablespoons toasted walnut oil or olive oil, sea salt. Make sure to top this salad with candied walnuts or pecans and some slivered parmesan! Double Yum: Make a double batch of the vinaigrette; use half of it as a marinade to soak the warm, roasted pears and fennel bulb for several hours. Use the other half to dress the greens when ready.