This dish is made for the fall, when pears are bountiful across the US. It’s also an effortless way to put together a composed salad for a brunch, a lunch or even a meatless supper with a combination of ingredients that is a little surprising…and totally delicious. While you can use poached pears or even grill pear halves just as you would bell peppers, for an elegant meal in minutes, pick a pear variety that tastes best au naturel (see the Healthy Ingredient Spotlight below to get familiar with varieties besides Bartlett). The vinaigrette is great on everything, so if you have extra, enjoy it on steamed veggies or even as a marinade for chicken breasts.
- 1/4 cup good-quality red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons port wine
- 1 tablespoon honey, preferably eucalyptus honey
- 1/2 teaspoon salt or more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 6 cups salad greens, such as mesclun or a mix of frisée, arugula and mâche, torn if needed
- 2 ripe, unpeeled pears, such as Bartlett, Anjou, Comice or Starkrimson, halved and cored
- 4 tablespoons Gorgonzola Dolce or another creamy and mild blue cheese
- 1/3 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
- 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
To make the vinaigrette, add the vinegar, port, honey, salt and pepper to a blender. Turn on the machine and slowly trickle in the olive oil through the cap in the lid, processing until emulsified. Divide the salad greens among four plates. Center a pear half, cut side up, over the greens on each plate, and fill the center of each pear with a spoonful of the cheese. Drizzle a tablespoon of the vinaigrette over the pears and greens, then sprinkle on equal amounts of the nuts and pomegranate seeds.
|Yields 4 servings