Make Ahead

Caramelized Pear Salad with Toasted Walnuts on Mixed Young Greens

September 14, 2011
1 Ratings
  • Prep time 40 minutes
  • Cook time 8 minutes
  • Makes 4 servings
Author Notes

Pears and good blue cheese are two of my favorite foods so I’ve been combining them in a salad for many years. Because there are several components to this salad, it rarely turns out exactly the same twice. But it’s always wonderful. You could serve it as a main dish for a luncheon, as a plated first course, or even a dessert for a rustic meal. A dry Provençal rosé or a Viognier will go well with it. —ChefJune

What You'll Need
  • For the Salad
  • 4 pears (2 Bosc, 2 Bartlett)
  • 2 tablespoons safflower oil
  • 1 teaspoon cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown Chinese vinegar
  • 1 bunch oak leaf lettuce (preferably red)
  • 1 bunch watercress
  • 1 cup torn pieces of baby Swiss chard
  • 1 cup torn pieces of frisée
  • Vinaigrette (see below)
  • 1 cup coarsely broken walnut pieces, toasted
  • Crumbled Point Reyes Blue cheese
  • For the Vinaigrette
  • pear pan juices
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon wasabi powder
  • 1/3 cup walnut oil
  • 1/3 cup safflower oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
  1. For the Salad
  2. To Caramelize the Pears: Peel and core the pears and divide each one into 24 slices. Warm a large sauté pan and add the oil. Add the pears and turn the heat to medium-low so the pears will not burn before they brown, soften and caramelize.
  3. When the pears have browned on one side, turn them over and sprinkle with the sugar. Add the vinegar and cover the pan. Cook for about 20 minutes, then remove the lid and continue cooking until almost all the liquid in the pan has evaporated.
  4. Remove the pears to a large plate (in a single layer). Scrape the remaining pan juices and brown bits into a small bowl for the vinaigrette.
  5. Carefully wash and thoroughly dry all the greens. Tear into bite-sized pieces and place into a bowl large enough to hold all of them comfortably.
  6. Toss the greens gently to combine. Then pour over the dressing (reserving about 2 tablespoons) and toss again.
  7. Divide the dressed greens evenly between 4 large plates and fan one-fourth of the pears atop each bed of greens. Be sure to use some of each kind of pear on each plate.
  8. Sprinkle walnut pieces and Point Reyes Blue cheese over each salad. Drizzle the remaining dressing over all and serve as a first course.
  1. For the Vinaigrette
  2. Place lime juice and wasabi powder in the bowl with the pear pan juices. Whisk to combine well. Whisking constantly, add first the walnut oil, then the safflower oil. Taste and add salt and pepper to your liking.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • drbabs
  • Bevi
  • lapadia
  • ChefJune
30+ years a chef, educator, writer, consultant, "winie," travel guide/coordinator

7 Reviews

drkate February 28, 2012
Hi! How much lime juice in the vinaigrette, please?
ChefJune April 29, 2014
sorry. can't believe I didn't see this question and correct the error until now! there's 1/4 cup fresh lime juice in the dressing.
drbabs September 15, 2011
Bevi September 15, 2011
I love the addition of watercress - one of my favorite salad greens.
ChefJune September 15, 2011
mine too, Bevi!
lapadia September 15, 2011
Nice combinations of flavor, ChefJune! Love using safflower oil, too, if I didn't have wasabi powder (or couldn't find it) what substitution would you suggest?
ChefJune September 15, 2011
I'd probably use a few shakes of hot pepper sauce. I put that into most everything for "pizzaz."