I am aware that this Winter Salad of Pears and Blue Cheese looks ready for Christmas with the red and green colors (not helped by my using red napkins) and it isn't quite Thanksgiving yet, but I needed a pear recipe and was craving salad and blue cheese and it gave me an excuse to buy my first gorgeous pomegranate of the season. This Nigel Slater recipe ends up being a good trial run for any holiday meal and paired well with a piece of salmon for a Friday night dinner.
Nigel says that slightly under-ripe pears with a little crispness are better for this than truly ripe ones--the contrast works well with the cheese. I made a few small changes to the recipe based on what I like and had on hand, noted in red below.
Winter Salad of Pears and Blue Cheese
Slightly Adapted from Ripe: A Cook in the Orchard by Nigel Slater
(Serves 2 or More as a Side)
a plump pear, ripe but still slightly crisp
small, crisp salad leaves--a couple of handfuls. (I used baby arugula)
firm blue cheese, four thick slices (I used a Gorgonzola--in pieces)
walnut halves, a handful, toasted
1/2 pomegranate, seeds separated
cider vinegar or white vinegar--1 Tbsp (I used champagne vinegar)
peanut oil--1 Tbsp (I used mac nut oil)
walnut or hazelnut oil--2 Tbsp (I used mac nut oil with a tiny bit of sesame oil)
heavy cream--1 Tbsp
Slice the pear into quarters. Remove the core and cut the fruit into thin slices. Brush each piece with lemon juice.
Make the dressing by putting the vinegar in a small bowl and dissolving a pinch of sea salt in it. Stir in the oils and then the cream, whisking well.
Divide the salad greens, pear slices and cheese between two plates and pour over the dressing. Scatter the toasted walnuts and pomegranate seeds over the salad and serve.
Notes/Results: My favorite Nigel Slater salad recipe (featuring apples) is shown below and remains in my heart, but this is a lovely and tasty salad too and one I will happily make again. The combination of the peppery baby arugula with the sweet pears, slightly tangy dressing, soft blue cheese, toasty walnuts and gorgeous juicy little pomegranate arils all work together so well. This was a round and mellow Gorgonzola which I prefer to a sharper blue cheese and if blue cheese isn't your thing, you could sub in feta and it would be delightful. Salmon, cooked simply in a bit of oil, was a great pairing as it has a strong enough flavor to hold up to the salad. An easy and delicious Friday night dinner.
Linking up to I Heart Cooking Clubs for the Monthly Featured Ingredient Challenge: Apples and/or Pears. You can see what apple and pear recipes everyone made by checking out the picture links on the post.
And linking up to Souper Sundays here at Kahakai Kitchen. Each Sunday we feature delicious soups, salads, and sandwiches from friends around the blogosphere--please join in if you have any to share. Here's this week's post and linkup.
For our Monthly Featured Ingredient Challenge, it's fun to go back and look at some of the Apple and Pear recipes I have cooked with our IHCC Featured Chefs. Here are some favorites with links to their respective posts and recipes. (Excuse some of the photos--many of these are from my early blogging days!)
My VERY FAVORITE Apple Recipe: Nigel Slater's Pan-Fried Apple and Cheese Salad. If you have never had warm, pan-fried apples on a salad, making the cheese slightly melted, you owe it to yourself to try this. I make it as often as I can each fall.
And Other Favorite Apple and Pear Dishes from our IHCC Chefs:
Nigella's Pear and Ginger Muffins:
Giada's Apple and Thyme Martinis:
Giada's Smoked Salmon and Apple Carpaccio:
Madhur Jaffrey's Pears Poached in a Saffron Syrup (Zaafraani Nashpati)
Curtis Stone's Lemon Puddings with Granny Smith Apple Compote:
Mark Bittman's Apple Cider and Calvados Slushy:
Happy Aloha Friday!