This is my favorite salad in the fall when pears are in season. It’s delicious and easy to make. It’s fruity without being too sweet, and the blue cheese and vinaigrette add the perfect tang. It makes a beautiful holiday salad.
What you will need:
1 or 2 pears. I used bosc but anjou work great too. They should be ripe but firm.
Greens: I used a combination of spring mix and baby spinach.
Red or green onion to taste. (see note below)
1 cup pecan halves
Blue cheese (crumbled)
Note: If your red onion is too strong slice it very thin and place in cold water with vinegar for a half hour or so. Squeeze out excess water with a paper towel or soft cloth before adding to the salad. You can also use green onions as they are milder. I find that I use green more often than red lately since red onions have been so strong.
1/2 cup Olive Oil
2 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar (I like a lightly flavored dressing for this salad. If you want a stronger flavor add more vinegar.)
2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
Squeeze or two of fresh lemon juice
Salt and cracked pepper to taste (around 1/8 to 1/2 teaspoon)
Note: I doubled this dressing recipe since I like to have extra depending on how many greens I use.
1 cup pecan halves
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon water
I prefer to buy a block of cheese instead of already crumbled. If your cheese is on the creamy side (which I love), slice off a slab, wrap in plastic wrap and place in freezer for 15 minutes or so. If you forget and it gets too hard, don’t worry it will soften up fast enough.
Place brown sugar, vanilla and salt in a small bowl and mix with a little water. (No butter in this recipe and it’s delicious)
Place pecan halves in a nonstick pan and toast for few minutes, stirring occasionally, until you can smell the nutty aroma. Be careful not to burn them. Pour the sugar mixture onto the pecans, stirring the pecans until they are all coated. Continue stirring for around 10 seconds or so. Transfer to parchment or waxed paper and set aside to cool. (This makes more than enough pecans with extra for snacking) enjoy!
Combine all ingredients for salad dressing in a jar or small bowl. Using a jar makes it easy since you can shake the dressing and also store the extra in the fridge.
Slice your onion and pear. Break the glazed pecans into pieces. Crumble hardened blue cheese with a fork.
Place your greens, pears, onion and pecans into a bowl. Drizzle on some dressing and toss thoroughly. Add some blue cheese crumbles and toss lightly. Taste and add more salt ,cracked pepper or dressing if needed.
You can customize this to your preferred taste. If you like more pear, add more. Add as much of the pecans and blue cheese as you would like for the amount of salad you’re making. I judge the amount of greens I will need by using one large handful per serving plus a extra handful or two for big eaters.
As always…Hope you enjoy!