When our friends Kathy and Tom invited us to a dinner party and asked that I bring a salad, I knew I wanted to throw together something seasonal…a salad that oozed Fall. Since we’ve had unseasonably hot temperatures, I wanted something that reminded us of falling leaves, crisp temperatures and sweater weather. Opening up my recipe database, my salad section didn’t fail me. This Ina recipe was just waiting to join the party.
My notes indicate that about two years ago I watched Ina make this on her show and promptly headed over to Food Network and copied the recipe into my database. Don’t know why I haven’t given it a try until now.
The flavors are exquisite. The sweet baked pear topped with the rich pungent port wine sauce, stuffed with blue cheese, a crunch of walnut and a tart craisin, finished with lemon and olive oil, all nestled on a bed of peppery arugula make this a wonderful combination of flavors and a perfect fall salad. This recipe has been moved from my “Salads” chapter to my “Fabulous Finds” in my cookbook database. Take a look:
- 3 ripe but firm Anjou pears
- Freshly squeezed lemon juice 3 lemons
- 3 ounces sharp blue cheese such as Stilton coarsely crumbled
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup walnut halves toasted and chopped
- 1/2 cup apple cider
- 3 Tablespoons port
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar lightly packed
- 1/4 cup good olive oil
- 6 oz baby arugula
- Kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Peel the pears and slice them lengthwise into halves. With a small sharp paring knife and a melon baller, remove the core and seeds from each pear, leaving a round well for the filling. Trim a small slice away from the rounded sides of each pear half so that they will sit in the baking dish without wobbling. Toss the pears with some lemon juice to prevent them from turning brown. Arrange them, core side up, in a baking dish large enough to hold the pears snugly.
Gently toss the crumbled blue cheese, dried cranberries, and walnuts together in a small bowl. Divide the mixture among the pears, mounding it on top of the indentation.
In the same small bowl, combine the apple cider, port, and brown sugar, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour the mixture over and around the pears. Bake the pears, basting occasionally with the cider mixture, for 30 minutes, or until tender. Set aside until warm or at room temperature.
Just before serving, whisk together the olive oil, 1/4 cup of lemon juice, and 1/4 cup of the basting liquid in a large bowl. Divide the arugula among 6 plates and top each with a pear half. Drizzle each pear with some of the basting liquid, sprinkle with salt, and serve warm.
Roasted Pear and Blue Cheese Salad
It’s What’s For a Fall Salad.