green salad with caramelized pears, walnuts & cheese
I have a thing for pears. I didn’t always have a thing for pears. But today my thing for pears is huge. And I think perhaps you need no more of my words on pears, but only to gaze (with your own eyes) upon their shapes, their colors, their stems, their dimples and imperfections, to know why it is I have this thing called love of pears.
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pears in pairs
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Of course it’s not all about their looks. They’ve got that whole flavor and texture thing going on too. Here’s one delicious way to enjoy these beauties. For this recipe, I like d’Anjou or Barlett or Comice – and since you want them to stand up to the heat of caramelizing, begin with under-ripe fruit.
My husband’s got a thing for blue cheese. So, that’s one way you could make this salad (and I did for him) – but just as good (and far better if you don’t happen to like blue) is Parmigiano-Reggiano. Each of these cheeses pairs up beautifully with pears.
I told you in an earlier post about this Olive Oil store near us. (Also on line www.oilerie.com) We were in there the other day to re-stock on our lemon-olive oil. (So good!) Do you think I could walk past the pear balsamic without tasting? Do you think I could walk out of the store without a little bottle tucked under my arm? (oh it was paid for!) The salad I made for us last night was made with pear balsamic and walnut oil – neither of these are necessary – at all! Olive oil and any good balsamic will do perfectly. But I had them, and it was good. Very good.
Green Salad with Caramelized Pears, Walnuts & Cheese
with Walnut-Balsamic Vinaigrette
for the salad:
- arugula or lettuce of your choice
- walnuts (toasted for 10 minutes approximately, in 350º oven) (or candied pecans or walnuts – see post May 9th, 2011)
- cheese of your choice (gorgonzola, other blue, parmiggiano – or perhaps you have another in mind)
for the vinaigrette:
- good olive oil (or walnut oil)
- balsamic vinegar (infused or not)
- kosher or sea salt & pepper to taste
- 1 pear (see above for varieties)
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 Tablespoons sugar (vanilla sugar if you have it on hand)
- balsamic – a splash – optional Read more