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
walnuts, coarsely chopped
3 1/5 tablespoons
whole grain mustard
dry white wine
red lettuce leaves, cut into bite-size pieces
baby arugula leaves
Belgian endive, thinly sliced
red onion, thinly sliced
crumbled blue cheese
fresh ground pepper
cooked chicken breasts, sliced (optional but suggested)
In This Recipe
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
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.
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.
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.
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.