Blog Archive

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Recipe: Stacked Pear Salad with Blue Cheese and Candied Nuts

 Stacked Pear Salad with Blue Cheese and Candied Nuts

by Victoria Challancin
Flavors of the Sun International Cooking School
San Miguel de Allende, México

There is no doubt that the exquisite blog Once Upon a Plate inspires me, makes me salivate, and causes me to wrestle with that unpleasant personal trait that none of us wants to own:  envy.  The recipes are inspired, the photos absolutely gorgeous, the writing lovely.  When I saw these stacked pear salads on Mari's blog, I knew I had to make them with my Mexican cooking students, just as she knew she had to make them when her friend sent her a recipe.  The actual recipe that I adapted originally comes from Chef Mike Fennelly of Mike's on the Avenue in New Orleans, who developed the recipe for the California Pear Advisory Board.

Stacked Pear Salad with Blue Cheese and Candied Nuts

(Adapted from a recipe by Chef Mike Fennelly) 
Serves 8. 
For the salad:
1 head frisée, torn into bite-size pieces
1 bunch watercress, leaves and leaf-clusters only 

8 pears, cored and sliced horizontally into five slices

For the dressing:
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons honey or agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 oz (about 2/3 cup) blue cheese, crumbled

For the candied nuts:
1 cup pecans or walnuts
1 teaspoon walnut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
A good pinch of cayenne
2 teaspoons sugar

Balsamic vinegar reduction (Note:  this could be gilding the lily--I just happened to have some on hand and decided to use it)

To prepare the vinaigrette:
Whisk vinegar, honey and pepper together.  Add oil a a little at a time, whisking to emulsify. Stir in blue cheese. leaving it chunky.  Set aside.

To prepare the salad:
Wash and dry greens. 

To prepare the nuts: 
Blanch the nuts for 45 seconds in boiling water, drain well, and place on a towel to dry.  Toss the nuts with the oil, salt, and cayenne pepper.  Spread nuts on a baking sheet, sprinkle with sugar, and bake at 250 degrees for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

To assemble:
On individual plates, alternate greens with pear slices (reassemble the pears with layers of greens). Secure with toothpicks to keep them from toppling.  Ladle each one with about 2 tablespoons of dressing and a bit of balsamic glaze, if using.  Sprinkle with candied nuts. Serve chilled.




No comments: