Another day, another salad! I’ve been wanting to make this recipe since pears were in season last fall. Oh well – our global food distribution system allows me to have fall fruits year-round, which is convenient for me, but maddening to Michael Pollan.
I love the combination of warm blue cheese, crunchy walnuts and sweet fruit. This recipe roasts the pears with that confetti-colored filling, basting in a mixture of apple juice and white wine. You then make a sweet salad dressing out of the basting liquid to serve with the pears on their bed of arugula.
Adapted from Ina Garten.
Roasted Pears with Walnuts and Blue Cheese
Ingredients (serves 6):
- 3 ripe but firm pears
- Freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
- 3 ounces coarsely crumbled sharp blue cheese
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup walnut halves, toasted and chopped
- 1/2 cup apple juice (or cider)
- 3 tablespoons white wine (or port)
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1/4 cup good olive oil
- 6 ounces baby arugula
- Kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Peel the pears and slice them lengthwise into halves. With a melon baller and knife, 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 juice, wine, 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 drizzle with salad dressing. Top each with a pear half. Drizzle each pear with some of the basting liquid, sprinkle with salt, and serve warm.
These weren’t so good as leftovers, so I recommend just making enough for you and your dining companions. Reheating the pears makes them mushy and the sauce loses something. A wonderful first-course or part of a healthy soup-salad dinner for these cool spring evenings.
Enjoy, friends! xoxo