If you’ve shied away from strong blue cheeses in the past, Gorgonzola dolce, sweeter than regular Gorgonzola, is a great introduction! The walnuts and pears add to the sweetness, a great counterbalance to the endive
- 1/2 cup walnut halves
- 2 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 6 ripe Seckel pears or another small variety, halved through the stem ends
- 1/2 cup pear nectar
- 1/4 cup pear balsamic vinegar, or more to taste
- 2 teaspoons honey, or more to taste
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 6 heads endive or radicchio di Treviso, or 3 of each
- Six 1-ounce wedges of Gorgonzola dolce or your favorite blue cheese
Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat, toast the walnuts until fragrant, and then transfer them to a small bowl. Add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and heat the oil. Use a small melon baller to remove any seeds from the pears and then place them, cut sides down, in the oil and cook until lightly browned. Transfer to a plate and reserve.
To make the vinaigrette for the salad, use the same pan, increasing the heat to medium high. Add the pear nectar and vinegar and bring to a boil. Boil until the mixture is reduced by half, then whisk in the honey. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let cool slightly, then whisk in the 1/3 cup of olive oil. Taste, adding more vinegar, honey, salt, and/or pepper as needed.
Trim the endive and remove the leaves from two of the heads; arrange them on 6 salad plates. Slice the 4 remaining heads crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces and divide among the plates. On each plate, arrange 2 pear halves, a wedge of Gorgonzola, and a few of the walnuts. Lightly drizzle each dish with the vinaigrette.
Yields 6 servings