Pears. That most satisfying and elusive of fruits. In America, it seems, you tend to get them rock hard or disappointingly mealy. Period. So each time we travel to Europe, where produce is respected for its ripeness and its flavor, Jay and I make sure to search them out. Above, some beauties at the Mercado da Ribeira in Lisbon. I still remember my first European pear, purchased as I was stocking up in Agrigento on the day before an Italian national strike. Memorable also were the pears from the market in Santiago de Compostela. And, most recently, in a salad at Da Gildo in Rome’s Trastevere neighborhood: thinly sliced pear, topped with a small handful of arugula, crowned with generous shavings of Parmesan, all laced with some mighty fine olive oil. Basta. When I complimented the owner, she smiled understandingly and said, “Molto semplice.” On Thanksgiving weekend 2011, I was telling my wonderful neighbor Susan about this salad and she soon brought me four of the most delicious pears I’ve ever had. (She’d received a Harry & David dozen as a gift.) She generously suggested, “Now you can make that salad at home.” Thank you, Susan, we did.