I remember the wonderful quince jelly my Grandmother made, from the fruit she gathered from the tall trees behind the house she lived in when I was a kid. Surrounded on one side by a lively, colorful flower garden, and backed by a large and wondrous vegetable garden, it was a magical place, made even sweeter by her beautiful jelly.
I wanted to keep my first experience cooking quince, as easy as possible, so simply chopped and roasted it. The first time I attempted this, I couldn’t find quince, so substituted pears – I was disappointed and apologized dejectedly to our guests (the recipe follows). However, almost a year later, to my great joy, I discovered quince in the supermarket around the same time I found this recipe. Due to my lack of knowledge, I was a little uncertain whether the fruit was even ripe, but went ahead and cooked it anyway. Maybe not as delicious as my Grandmothers jelly – but a pretty good first attempt.
ROASTED QUINCE AND MIXED WINTER VEGETABLES
4 to 6 quince, cored and cut into 1/4 inch wedges
1 head garlic, cloves separated
4 potatoes, cut into cubes
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
4 red onions, peeled and cut into wedges
5 sprigs of rosemary
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup walnut oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/3 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
Heat oven to 400F. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except walnuts, tossing well to coat vegetables in oil. Divide vegetables, spread out in a single layer among two large baking sheets or roasting pans.
Place in oven and bake until vegetables are tender, caramelized and slightly charred, about 1 hour. Stir vegetables several times and switch pans between racks at least once during roasting.
Remove from oven and transfer to a serving bowl. Adjust seasoning if needed and scatter walnuts over the top.
Recipe adapted from The Wall Street Journal, October 2013
POACHED QUINCE SALAD
FOR THE POACHED QUINCES (PEARS!)
1 pound quinces (or pears)
2 tablespoons of honey
zest from 1 lemon
FOR THE SALAD
4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into 1/4 inch wide ribbons
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup coarsely chopped toasted, salted almonds
1 to 2 ounces of Manchego cheese
4 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar
MAKE THE POACHED QUINCES (OR PEARS)
Peel, quarter and core each quince (or pear). Put the fruit, honey and lemon zest in a 3-quart saucepan. Add enough liquid to cover mixture by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Cover with a lid that is smaller than the saucepan to submerge the fruit. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the quinces are tender when pierced with a knife, about 45 minutes (pears will take less time). Let them cool in the cooking liquid.
ASSEMBLE THE SALADS
Toss the arugula, proscuitto, and olive oil in a large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide the salad evenly among plates. Slice the quinces (or pears) and arrange on each plate. Sprinkle the almonds and cheese on top. Drizzle each salad with 1 teaspoon of the balsamic vinegar.
Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking, October/November 2011