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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
Makes 4 servings
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Toss the greens gently to combine. Then pour over the dressing (reserving about 2 tablespoons) and toss again.
- 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.
- Sprinkle walnut pieces and Point Reyes Blue cheese over each salad. Drizzle the remaining dressing over all and serve as a first course.
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
- 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.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Green Holiday Side
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe with Walnuts
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Lettuce
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Pears
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe for When You Want It to Feel Like Fall