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Friday, January 21, 2011

Pears and Cheese...Perfect!

Roasted Pear Salad with Chèvre and Fig Vinaigrette

Pears and Cheese...Perfect!
bu Victoria Challancin

How much do I love the combination of pears and cheese?  Well, obviously, a lot, if you judge by how often recipes using the them appear on my table, in my cooking classes, and on this blog.  There truly is something rather perfect about the sweetness and texture of a pear set off by the spunkiness of a sharp cheese and the sassiness of a glug of brandy or a tart vinaigrette.  Yep, as far as culinary marriages go, this one definitely works.  So when this recipe recently floated through my Inbox from the Vegetarian Times,  I immediately knew I would use it in my class.

This week I bought a lovely fig jam with no added sugars (no icky sweeteners added either!), but suggested that plum or currant jam would work as well.  We used watercress (called berros in Spanish), endive, and baby lettuces from a local organic store.  The goat cheese was locally made here in San Miguel de Allende as well.  This salad is perfect. Truly.  A perfect combination of ingredients, a perfect play of flavors, a perfect visual treat, a scrumptious gustatory one as well.  My students loved it, I loved it, my family and friends loved it, but as I said, "What's not to love?  Pears and Cheese...perfect."  

Roasted Pear Salad with Chèvre and Fig Vinaigrette
(Recipe from Vegetarian Times)
Serves 8

4 Bosc, Comice, Concorde or Bartlett pears, halved and cored
8 teaspoons plus 2 Tablespoons fig jam, divided 
5 oz soft goat cheese, cut into 8 slices
1 Tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling, divided
2 Tablespoons lemon juice or lime juice 
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
4 cups watercress, endive, baby arugula, or other lettuces
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 375F.  Place pear halves cut-side up in 2 large baking dishes.

Spoon 1 teaspoon jam in center of each pear half.  Top with goat cheese rounds, and lightly drizzle with oil.  Bake pears 30 minutes, or until cheese begins to brown.

Whisk together remaining 2 Tablespoons fig jam, lemon juice and mustard in bowl.  Whisk in 1 Tablespoon olive oil.

Divide watercress among 8 serving plates.  Sprinkle with onion and nuts.  Top each with pear half, and drizzle with dressing.


The roasted pears with fig jam and goat's cheese  

How much do love the combination of pears with cheese?  Check out these recipes that I taught in another class for Stacked Pear Salads with Blue Cheese and Candied Nuts and one for Brandy-Roasted Pears with Gorgonzola. 

Pears with Camembert from Martha Stewart--another recipe I recently taught in a cooking class for Mexican cooks

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

©Victoria Challancin.  All Rights Reserved.

Photo by Alison Bastien
Photo of a Winter Solstice Ceremony at a friend's house--the candles represent prayers, prayers for our world and the people in it... 


Dimah said...

Wonderful presentation! it looks and sounds so delicious!

Ben said...

I agree that is a perfect marriage, so yummy!