Make Ahead

Perfect Pear Fall Salad

September  9, 2011
2 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

This recipe was inspired by Food Network Kitchen's Roasted Pear and Blue Cheese Salad.

This salad is wonderful in the fall when pears are in season and the weather is turning colder. I made it for my parents when they came to visit one November, and they liked it so much, my mom asked me to make it for Christmas Eve. With a thick slice of multi-grain french bread and sliced chicken breast, it’s a nice, light meal, but it can easily be made a smaller, starter salad by removing the meat. - moka —moka

Test Kitchen Notes

Moka's technique for preparing the pears adds a perfectly caramelized and wine-y note to what could otherwise be just any ol' salad. The pears cook up soft enough to cut with a fork, yet they hold their shape beautifully on top of the bed of mixed greens. The blue cheese and walnuts are natural pairs for the pears (giggle), and the combination of soft red lettuce, bitter arugula, and crunchy endive add welcome texture. I did find the ratio of sugar to nuts in the candying step to be far too high; the nuts could have been mistaken for too-crunchy pralines and were too sweet an addition to the already sweet pears. Next time I'd toast the nuts and dust them with sugar and a bit of sea salt to finish. - kate —Kate Williams

What You'll Need
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 bosc pears
  • 3 1/5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 bunch red lettuce leaves, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 bunch baby arugula leaves
  • 2 Belgian endive, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 ounces crumbled blue cheese
  • Kosher salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 2 cooked chicken breasts, sliced (optional but suggested)
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. To make the candied walnuts, combine walnuts and sugar in a pan over medium heat. Stir constantly until all of the sugar has melted onto the walnuts and the sugar has become a clear glaze. Pour the candied nuts onto a sheet of waxed paper to cool.
  3. Halve and core the pears and cut into 1/2 inch slices. Heat 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil in an oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Add the pears and wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften and turn color, about 8 minutes. Transfer the pan to the oven and continue cooking until the pears are cooked through and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 8 minutes.
  4. To make the salad dressing, whisk together the mustard and vinegar, then slowly incorporate the remaining 3 tablespoon of olive oil until well mixed. Set aside.
  5. Toss the lettuce, arugula, and endive together in a large bowl. Add the blue cheese, candied walnuts, red onion, dressing, and chicken. Season with salt and pepper and toss. Divide the salad onto salad plates, and place roasted pears in the center of each salad. This is best served while the pears are still warm.
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1 Review

Slavegirl62 October 3, 2011
This is very similar to a salad I've been making for years-I include butter lettuce as part of the greens mixture (I like the texture of this better, although the red leaf lettuce is very beautiful, and very autumn-y) and the walnuts are candied with what probably amounts to just under a few tablespoons of sugar. Your taste buds and pancreas will thank you for not using the full cup of sugar.