I seldom cook with Asian pears, though recipes for cooking them abound. They’re so great fresh, that the most culinary thing I do is to chop them into a salad. Here’s a way to savor the cooked Asian pear, and it only requires one, so you’re not sacrificing too much. It’s a good vinaigrette for salads as well as steamed veggies. Sweet and spicy, in Asian culinary fashion.

1 Asian pear, peeled, quartered and cored; or other, ripe pear
1/2 c mirin (rice wine); or 1/2 c dry sherry, vermouth, white wine, or sake with 11/2 – 2 T sugar
1 – 2 T water, if needed
1/2 c vegetable oil, not too strongly flavored
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/4 c rice vinegar, or white wine vinegar
2 t soy sauce
1 t five spice powder
1 t powdered mustard, or 1 T prepared mustard

1. Put the Asian pear in a small saucepan with the miring and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated the the pear is very soft.

2. If there’s pear fond on the bottom of the pan, add a T or two of water to deglaze the pan, then transfer the pear to a food processor or blender.

3. Add remaining ingredients and whizz until puréed. The mixture should be somewhat thick, so if you prefer a looser dressing, stir in some water.