Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Walnut and Blue Cheese Stuffed Poached Pear Salad

I am starting dinner with a salad every night now.  And in order not to get too many complaints, I am trying to mix it up a bit and make some of them look a little fancy, so my husband doesn't realize I'm getting him to eat his greens first, and maybe slow down on the red meat.  Yea, my husband needs it.

I made these poached pears on Sunday and served them as a first course for dinner.  The nice thing is you can poach them when you have time and they can sit in the refrigerator until you are ready to use them, just let them sit out about 30 minutes to come to room temperature. The spicy arugula is a nice bite next to the sweet pear and savory blue cheese.  If you haven't achieved blue cheese, a nice goat cheese would work, or leave it out like I did for the dairy free kids at the table, the walnuts and dried cranberries are still delicious in this salad.

Walnut and Blue Cheese Stuffed Poached Pear Salad
adapted from Barefoot Contessa, Back to Basics

2 ripe but firm Anjou pears
2 lemons, juiced
2 oz. blue cheese
1/4 cup toasted walnuts
1/2 cup apple juice
3 Tbsp. brandy
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup good olive oil
4 oz. baby arugula
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Peel the pears and slice them lengthwise into halves.  With a small, sharp knife and a melon baller, 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 they will sit on the baking dish without wobbling.  Toss the pears with 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 cider, brandy 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 lemon juice, and 1/4 cup of the basting liquid in a large bowl.  Add the arugula and toss well.  Divide the arugula among 4 plates and top each with a pear half.  Drizzle each pear with some of the dressing, sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve.
Serves 4

1 year ago:   Moose outside my Window and Lobster Bisque
2 years ago:  Vodka Martini for a Hard Week
3 years ago:  Grapefruit Poundcake for Sunday Dinner

January 13, 2014  Sunrise 10:32  Sunset 3:28  Temp. H 25/ L 10°F

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