Poached Pear Salad with Blue Cheese and Champagne Vinaigrette

Poached Pear Salad with Blue Cheese and Champagne Vinaigrette

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  • 1 750-ml bottle dry red wine
  • 2 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
  • 4 firm Bosc pears, peeled, halved lengthwise, cored

Vinaigrette and salad

  • 1/4 cup minced shallot (about 1 large)
  • 3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 cups mixed baby greens (from two 5-ounce packages)
  • 1 cup walnut pieces, toasted
  • 1 cup crumbled blue cheese (about 5 ounces)

Recipe Preparation


  • Bring first 5 ingredients to boil in large wide saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add pear halves, cut side down. Return syrup to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer uncovered until pears are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

  • Drain pears. Leaving top 1 inch intact (at narrow end), cut each pear half lengthwise into thin slices. Gently press on pear halves to fan slightly.


  • Whisk shallot, vinegar, and mustard in small bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in 1/2 cup oil. Season vinaigrette to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate.

  • Place greens in large bowl. Toss with enough vinaigrette to coat. Mound greens on plates. Arrange 1 pear half atop greens on each plate. Sprinkle with walnuts and cheese. Drizzle with more vinaigrette, if desired, and serve.

Recipe by Megan Johnson, Frank Beidler,

Nutritional Content

One serving contains the following: Calories (kcal) 336.6 %Calories from Fat 76.0 Fat (g) 28.4 Saturated Fat (g) 5.7 Cholesterol (mg) 12.7 Carbohydrates (g) 14.4 Dietary Fiber (g) 5.1 Total Sugars (g) 7.8 Net Carbs (g) 9.3 Protein (g) 9.1Reviews Section

Pear, Blue Cheese, and Candied Pecan Salad

Happy 2013 all you lovely Table for Two readers!! Are you ready to start writing &ldquo2013&rdquo on things? I&rsquom probably still going to flub until April or something and continue to write 2012, haha

I hope you had wonderful festivities this holiday season and got to eat to your heart&rsquos content! I rang in the new year this year in style &ndash my friends and I partied like it was the 1920&rsquos! The 20&rsquos is one of my favorite eras &ndash not sure why, but I really dig the flapper outfits and the headbands. I also LOVE The Great Gatsby so maybe that played a part in my love for the 20&rsquos.

Let me preface this post with: DON&rsquoT ROLL YOUR EYES AT ME. I know you&rsquore seeing a salad on the 2nd day of January and I know you&rsquore probably thinking I&rsquom *trying* to make this all healthy because of everyone&rsquos new year&rsquos resolutions. Well, I&rsquom NOT. I&rsquom partially sharing this because I made it over a month ago and it just happened to get scheduled today and also partially sharing it because I know some of you really do want to make a salad after all the massive intake of sweets & greasy foods over the holidays. So..yeah.

The reason why I made this was because I had it at Nordstrom Cafe while on a shopping trip with my friend and fell in love with it and HAD to find a way to recreate it at home. I was determined to remake it at home because of how AMAZING it is. It has pears in it, which gave it the ultimate sweet/salty combination and the spicy candied pecans were another great addition to the layers of flavors in this salad. Jason shoveled this salad in his mouth. He declared it &ldquoone of the best salads&rdquo and that&rsquos a huge statement for a salad.

If you do make a salad this week, you should add this to your list. It&rsquos a keeper and the dressing goes a long way and you&rsquoll want to put it on EVERYTHING.

Poached Pear, Pecan, and Goat Cheese Salad

Makes 3-4 servings. Adapted from Laylita’s Recipes.

Poached Pears:
3 firm pears (we used Bosc)
3 cups white wine
¾ cup of sugar
1 cinnamon stick
4 strips orange peel

Herbed Goat Cheese:
6oz goat cheese, room temperature
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh herbs, such as thyme or basil

4 tablespoons white wine, sherry, or pear vinegar
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium sized shallots, peeled and chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Candied Pecans:
1 cup whole, shelled pecans
1 teaspoon water
1 egg white
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup granulated sugar

About 6 cups of mixed greens

Heat the wine, sugar, cinnamon and orange peel in a large saucepan, stir occasionally. Meanwhile, peel the pears, cut them in half and core them add them to the wine mix once it boils. Cook until the pears are tender but still slightly firm, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

With a fork, thoroughly combine goat cheese, garlic, and herbs. You can also use a food processor if you’d like.

To prepare the vinaigrette combine all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender until emulsified.

To make candied pecans, pre-heat the oven to 275 degrees F. Separate one large egg. Add the egg white to one teaspoon of cold water to form an egg wash. Toss the pecans in the egg wash. Combine sugar, salt and cinnamon. Mix this with the pecans. Distribute the pecans in one layer on a cookie sheet and place in the oven. Let them cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring every so often. Remove pecans from oven and let cool.

To serve, toss the salad greens with the vinaigrette and arrange on a plate. Place each ½ pear on top of the salad greens or slice and arrange on top of the mixed greens. Top with crumbled herb goat cheese and cooled pecans. Serve immediately.


    1. 1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
    2. 2. In a medium bowl, toss the pears, sugar, and butter. Arrange the pears in a single layer in a baking sheet. Bake, turning once, until the pears are barely tender, 10󈟟 minutes.
    3. 3. Dry roast the pine nuts in a skillet for 5 minutes, until toasty brown. Remove from the heat and set aside.
    4. 4. In a large salad bowl, prepare the dressing by whisking together the oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper, mustard, and maple syrup. Add the arugula or salad greens and toss to coat.
    5. 5. Divide the salad onto four chilled plates. Arrange the roasted pears in a fan around the center, and sprinkle with the cranberries, Parmesan cheese, and pine nuts. Scatter with petals from the calendula blossoms.

    From The Complete Kitchen Garden: An Inspired Collection of Garden Designs and 100 Seasonal Recipes by Ellen Ecker Ogden. Text copyright © 2011 Ellen Ecker Ogden. Published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang, an imprint of ABRAMS.

    Related Video

    This was an outstanding salad! I made it as a starter for Easter dinner. For 6 adults I doubled the dressing and used a 5 oz. package of pancetta and 3 pairs. I tossed the pears in the dressing while the main course was cooking and tossed all the ingredients together and plated just before serving.

    Served as a first course for Thanksgiving - perfect!

    Clean, simple, and delicious

    This was delicious! I made it twice: the first time, as written, and we loved it. The second time, I made it for a big buffet so, I substituted spring greens for the arugula and parmesan shavings for the ricotta salata. I was very happy that I splurged and bought the Champagne vinegar. It made a beautiful dressing!

    Delicious! I used manchego cheese and it was wonderful in the salad. I also used half spring mix and half arugula but I will use only arugula, like the recipe states, when I make it next time.

    One of the best salads I have every had. The dressing has clean bright flavors. I subbed white wine vinegar for the Champagne because that was what I had. I also had trouble getting good pancetta, so I subbed procuitto. This is definitely a keeper!

    I think you could halve the amount of honey in the dressing but it still turned out well.

    I used prosciutto instead of pancetta and this turned out lovely. I also used shaved grana padano parmesan instead of ricotta salata.

    This is a top notch salad. Since discovering this a few years ago here, I have made it every year to kick-off Thanksgiving and other special occasions.. I plate everything individually for presentation and it is terrific. Highly recommend as is.

    This salad was the first time my 1.5 yr old requested for more salad! Added raisins, sunflower seeds & kale.

    Made this for a potluck and it was a huge hit. Only thing I did was I used procuitto instead of pancetta. Whole Foods had procuitto salad toppers and it was reasonably priced so I didn't have to fry anything. And they were delicious! Added a nice crunch to the salad. I did mix a little bit of field greens with the arugula to stretch it a bit but probably 75% arugula and 25% field greens. Will definitely make this again!

    Super easy and delicious. I didn't have pancetta on hand, so I just used bacon. I also mixed the arugula with a spring mix. Great salad.

    This salad has become my Sunday staple, and it helped me win the family Top Chef competition this weekend. I have often made it exactly as-is, but I've also substituted based on what I have on hand. I have yet to find a fruit that doesn't taste good in it. Strawberries have been an especially big hit. The ricotta salata cheese is delicious, but so is manchego or even crumbled blue cheese.

    i substituted Pomegranite Vin for the Champagne Vin. and threw some toasted Macadamia Nuts on top! Stellar! Just made a whole bottle of the dressing to be ready for next time.

    this salad is sooo good. the crunchy saltiness of the bacon, with the subtly sweet asian pear and the slight bitterness of the arugula is just outstanding. it's been a hit everytime i've made it for guests. i followed someone else's suggestion and went for 1/2 baby spinach and 1/2 arugula. definitely looks best w/ salad plated first, then fanning pear slices and sprinkling bacon over the top,

    I just try the vinaigrette, it was very mild and good. I will do it again.

    A little too sweet? My Whole Foods was out of regular arugula and only had a weird micro-arugula (slightly more than sprouts). I bought it since I wanted to try out this recipe for dinner guests but it wasn't very peppery. I'll have to try this again sometime with regular arugula. This was a little too sweet for my taste but the peppery flavor of regular arugula may cut through it all. So, don't do it with micro greens.

    I served this salad on New Years. Everyone loved it. I had to get the ricotta at Whole Foods. I also grilled the pears to enhance their ripness. Really good.

    Because I was cooking for kosher people I used turkey bacon instead of pancetta. It was still fabulous. The dressing is light, very simple to make and just brings out all the flavors. I will definitely make this again and again and again!

    Nice salad. Dressing is light tasting and could be used for many salads. Pancetta was good, I but might be tempted to try sweet and spicy pecans as an alternative. Used Japanese pear (good) and happened upon ricotta salata at Whole Foods and glad I did (loved it!). Would make this again.

    The vinaigrette is SO good! I used a mixed of baby greens and prosciutto. I can see how the pancetta would be amazing.

    Asian pears are the best. Made this salad using prosciutto, very thin and delicate but flavorful. Served at an event with about 200 attendees. Huge hit! Thanks.

    1 pear, 5 oz baby arugula, and the rest of the recipe as written was a perfect followup to wild mushroom risotto for our family of three.

    I made this substituting figs for pears and parmesean for ricotta salata and it was really good. So really the dressing was perfect!

    I use white wine vinegar instead of Champagne vinegar (as that's what I have in the house). This is a delicious salad with a lovely light dressing - a real winner! I've already made it several times.

    Poached Pear Salad with Blue Cheese and Champagne Vinaigrette - Recipes

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    Recipe Summary

    • 2 cups water
    • 1 (750-milliliter) bottle riesling or other slightly sweet white wine
    • 1 (2-inch) piece vanilla bean, split lengthwise
    • 3 peeled cored firm Bartlett pears (about 1 pound)
    • 2 (2-inch) lemon rind strips
    • 2 (2-inch) orange rind strips
    • 8 cups mixed salad greens
    • 8 (1/8-inch-thick) slices red onion, separated into rings
    • ½ cup golden California raisins
    • ½ cup (2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese
    • 2 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
    • 2 teaspoons honey Dijon mustard

    Combine 2 cups water and wine in a large saucepan over medium heat. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean add seeds, bean, and next 3 ingredients (through orange rind) to pan bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until pears are tender. Drain and cool, and discard bean and rinds. Slice pears in half lengthwise, and cut into thin wedges.

    Place 1 cup greens on each of 8 plates. Top each serving with 1 red onion slice, 1 tablespoon raisins, 1/3 cup pears, and 1 tablespoon cheese.

    Combine oil, vinegar, and mustard in a small bowl stir with a whisk until smooth. Drizzle about 1 teaspoon dressing over each salad. Serve immediately.

    Balsamic Vinegar - The Sour

    Balsamic vinegar is a dark, sweet smelling vinegar made from unfermented grape juice. Real balsamic vinegar is expensive and is made by moving the vinegar around between barrels made from different sorts of woods to obtain various flavors. It can be aged 12, 18, 25 or even 50 years! To make this pear salad recipe, you needn't invest your life's savings but do try to find an authentic balsamic and not one just colored with caramel.

    If you're interested in trying some of the good stuff, here's one that you can even eat on ice cream.

    Our 20 Best Pear Recipes Because Apple Shouldn’t Have All the Fun

    Andrea Wyner

    Although autumn may mean you have to store away the strawberry recipes, it doesn’t mean you have to give up on fruit. Pears are severely underrated: they’re juicy and sweet and versatile, working beautifully in everything from a pie to a margarita to a marinade for lamb. Whether you’re looking to spice up your traditional easy fall dinners with a hint of pear, or looking for a beautiful picture-perfect dessert, or want to get a head-start trying out recipes for Thanksgiving dinner, here are our very best recipes to try this fall.

    Honey-and-Butter Baked Pears with Cold Cream

    These sticky caramelized pears get served warm with a glug of fresh chilled cream for dessert at Henne Kirkeby Kro chef Paul Cunningham’s holiday feast. He uses “double cream,” a dairy product not available in the U.S. You can use chilled crème fraîche on its own, or thin it slightly with chilled heavy cream to approximate the texture. If you can find organic heavy cream where the fat separates and floats to the top, skim off this fat and use it. Get the recipe for Honey-and-Butter Baked Pears with Cold Cream »

    Poached Pears

    Lavender Rice Pudding with Pears

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    Developed by cookbook author Karen Solomon, this tangy, piquant Asian pear pickle tastes great on its own, on a chicken sandwich, in an arugula salad, or paired with blue cheese. If you can’t find Asian pears, any kind of pear can be subbed in here just look for specimens that are on the small side and rather firm. Get the recipe for Pickled Asian Pears With Lemon »

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    Cucumber, Pear, and Sumac–Onion Salad

    Spiced Pear Syrup

    An essential ingredient in Zachary Stevens’ Eros Elixir, use this spicy fruit syrup to flavor cocktails, enhance whipped cream, or drizzle over ice cream. Get the recipe for Spiced Pear Syrup »

    Nelson Pear Pie

    A pie filled with fresh pears, drizzled with cream, and sprinkled with sugar and flour makes an incredibly simple, elegant dessert. Get the recipe for Nelson Pear Pie »

    Arugula, Pecorino, Pine Nut, and Pear Salad (Rucola con Pecorino, Pignoli e Pere)

    Raisins add a subtle sweetness to this salad from Enoteca l’Alchimista in Montefalco, Italy. Arugula, Pecorino, Pine Nut, and Pear Salad (Rucola con Pecorino, Pignoli e Pere) »

    Korean Cold Buckwheat Noodles (Jaengban Guksu)

    Don’t be fooled by the vegetable-heavy spread this dish is sure to fill you up. A medley of thinly sliced vegetables is piled up with a mound of cold buckwheat noodles. They’re dressed with a slurpable spicy and savory gochujang sauce that makes for a Korean take on a chef’s salad. Get the recipe for Korean Cold Buckwheat Noodles (Jaengban Guksu) »

    Pear-Marinated Roast Leg of Lamb

    The enzymes found in pears tenderize this roast lamb, while garlic and herbs add flavor. Get the recipe for Pear-Marinated Roast Leg of Lamb »

    Endive and Roquefort Salad with Smoked Pepper Jelly and Hazelnuts

    Green beans, herbs, endives, and pears are dressed in a sherry vinaigrette, sprinkled with Roquefort and toasted nuts, and drizzled with piquant pepper jelly in this salad from The Grain Store in London. Get the recipe for Endive and Roquefort Salad with Smoked Pepper Jelly and Hazelnuts »

    Pear and Cheese Ravioli (Cacio e Pere)

    Nothing says love like homemade pasta. Lidia Bastianich’s recipe mixes tender, sweet Bartlett pears with sharp pecorino and creamy mascarpone to make a rich filling for ravioli.

    Roasted Sugar-Glazed Pears

    Roasted pears stuffed with almonds, currants, and raisins make a simple yet elegant dessert.

    Port Wine Poached Pears

    Poaching Bosc pears in port wine turns them a beautiful, vibrant red. Get the recipe for Port Wine Poached Pears »

    The creamy pear vinaigrette is made in the blender with fresh, ripe pears, pear juice, honey, olive oil, and finished with chopped chives and gorgonzola. The perfect combination of salty and sweet!

    Click to see how to caramelize nuts.

    Perfection! Butter leaf lettuce just melts in your mouth and those cranberries and walnuts provide some crunch and texture.