“You can order something other than salad….you know that right?” These were the words spoken to me by my now husband after dating for about 3 weeks. Everywhere I went I was ordering salad. I wasn’t trying to be polite or watching my weight, I just happened to really like salad. Problem was as a single girl my ingredients in my fridge would always spoil before I could use them….so I usually only had salad when I went out to eat. He kept taking me out to eat. I kept eating salad. I still to this day don’t make it at home as much as I would eat it because(and this will be shocking) my husband doesn’t like salad. So if I do have salad, it is usually for lunch when Mr. No Palate is not around.
I’ve been very bad lately about participating in blogging events. Seems I always remember to do it the day(or week) after the fact. But the Salad Stravaganza(co-hosted by Lisa and Kelly) was publicized enough to the Daring Bakers that I had enough gently reminders to get mine in. This is a salad I like to make for company. The poached pear for some reason is very exciting to them(it’s not hard people). When I am feeling ambitious(not today) I usually make a blue cheese fritter to go along with it….but it was warm so the idea of standing in front of frying oil was not appealing. This salad has a lot of flavors occurring but they marry nicely together. And as usual, my salad is not low fat. 😛
Have a salad recipe you want to share? You too can be part of the Salad Stravaganza. Just head on over to either La Mia Cucina or Sass and Veracity to get more information.
Poached Pear Salad with Blue Cheese, Spiced Caramel Walnuts and Blackberry Jam Vinaigrette
poached pears(recipe follows)
blackberry jam vinaigrette(recipe follows)
spiced caramel walnuts(recipe follows)
blue cheese( however much you like)
2 ripe Green Anjou pears, cut in half and cored
1 ½ cups Pinot Gris(I used A to Z from here in the PNW)
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup Port wine
2 whole cloves
Bring wines, sugar and cloves to a boil(making sure the sugar dissolves) and then bring to a simmer. Poach pears for 15 minutes. Remove ¾ cup of the liquid and reserve. Leave the pears in the liquid while you prepare the rest of the salad.
Blackberry Jam Vinaigrette
¾ cup poaching liquid from the pears
2 TBSP cider vinegar
¾ cup olive oil
1 tsp garlic
¼ cup blackberry jam
Cook reserved pear liquid(make sure no cloves are in there) until reduced by half. In a blender or Cuisinart mix reduction with blackberry jam, vinegar, garlic and some salt to taste. While blender is running, slowly add the oil.
Spiced Caramel Walnuts
1 cup walnuts
½ cup sugar
½ tsp chile powder
½ tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp sea salt
Combine sugar with the spices. Place into a saucepan and turn on medium heat. Watch carefully to see the sugar start to caramelize around the edges of the pan. When that happens throw in the walnuts and stir. When they are coated in caramel spread onto a pan that has been covered in parchment paper. Once it is completely cooled, break into pieces.
To put the salad together:
Place a little bit of vinaigrette onto the bottom of the plate(this insures that the bottom greens get some of the good stuff too). Slice poached pear half in half. The slice each quarter and fan out placing it in the middle of the greens. Garnish with walnuts and blue cheese crumbles. Drizzle desired amount of vinaigrette.
Your vinaigrette really makes this dish special. I, too, am a salad lover married to a non-salad guy, though he is coming around. But when he’s not home, it’s all salad, all the time for me!
Heavens! That looks outstanding. I’ve never poached pears; I must try it. Gorgeous photos, as always. And I liked your ordering-salad-on-dates story. He thought you were showing what a dainty eater you were! Cute.
Ooooooooooh! Peabody this is right up my alley. I have salad every single day. I can’t imagine not eating salad. Love this one!
I don’t make salads often enough either, but I really like ones like this!
Delicious! I’m making my salad today for this event. Hope it isn’t too late… I need to check when the deadline is.
Beautiful and delicious! What a lovely salad. My family would love this.
sandi @ the whistlestop cafe says
I’m in…but mine will never look as good as yours.
Salad is a staple now that the weather has turned warm. That blackberry vinagrette sounds really good. I’ll bet it ties all the other flavors together. Might try it with fresh blackberries and some sugar instead of the jam.
Oh my GOD, will you post the blue cheese fritter recipe? (Salad looks gorgeous, as everything always does around here!)
BLUE CHEESE FRITTERS
300 ml water
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp. of butter
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup of plain flour, sifted
1 pack (100g) Rosenborg Mellow Danish Blue Cheese, roughly chopped
100g Danish Fontina cheese, grated
Salt and black pepper
Oil for frying
1. Place water and butter in medium sized pan and bring to boil, stir in sifted flour, beating well to form a thick consistency which starts to leave the sides of the pan.
2. Remove from heat and gradually beat in the eggs. Cool until just warm and then add cheeses and seasoning.
3. Heat sufficient oil to allow for deep frying, then drop spoonfuls of the mixture into the hot oil and cook until puffed and golden. Cook up to four fritters at a time.
4. Drain and serve hot with salad leaves and a fruit coulis if desired.
SERVES 6 AS A STARTER – 4 AS A MAIN COURSE
This is hilarious b/c my boyfriend still says the same thing to me. And I adore salad, and he doesn’t like it, mcuh as I’ve tried to convince him. Pears and blue cheese and walnuts are a classic.
Peabody, that is a fine looking salad. I love combining pears and blue cheese together and with a crispy salad this really is wonderful!
What a wonderful salad! I’ll remember that special dressing, so delicious!
Holy crap – it looks like something you’d receive at a swanky restaurant! GORGEOUS! Thank you so much, Gracie!! Even though it’s not fat free, this is a salad I can have every once in a while and still know it’s healthy (while I’m drooling everywhere)!
After your e-mail, I knew your salad would be special.. I wasn’t disappointed. =)
Again, my three favorite components in a salad. Cheese, dark greens and nuts. What time is lunch?
Hi Pea! Wow, what a refreshing looking salad! I love the idea of the blackberry jam vinaigrette, and the combination of cheese, nuts and pears sounds divine! Now I’ll have to raid my jams to experiment with some vinaigrettes! Yum!
Pea! This looks delicious! Poached pear sounds good and blue cheese and caramelised walnuts (!) my favourites! I love salads too, so much so that my friends nicknamed me Salady. I’ve also had a friend who went “Oh no! Don’t tell me you’re ordering a salad!” when we ate out. Fortunately I get to make my own salads and pack them to school/work.
PS. I don’t like fat-free salads. Yuck. I’m not a cow.
I love salads like this, even if they are a pain to put together 🙂
Your vinaigrette is so creative and looks delicious!!!
Oh yeah, good salad. 🙂
Peabody, you never fail us. This looks AMAZING.
Holy mackarel, that’s one heckuva salad! Now why is it that I’ve never encountered a salad like that before? Dangit!
Amanda Wheeler says
This salad looks amazing. I’m totally making it this week. Thank you Peabody!
That’s one of my favorite combos too. It looks so elegant and refined. Thanks for sharing the fritters recipe, kinds like freid up gougeres eh? Yumm!!
I love blue cheese and pears or dried cranberries too.
Jenn - The Leftover Queen says
This looks delicious! I am like you, I could eat salad everyday!
I’m still just getting used to non-baking related posts around here! Looks gorgeous Peabody, any other recommendations for that blackberry jam vinagrette?
I would love this, I like fruit in every course 🙂 I agree with Helen, very elegant.
This salad looks fantastic! I love the vinaigrette, the spiced caramel walnuts, the poached pear, everything is perfect and is a must try for me! Thanks!
How absolutely gorgeous~you make the ordinary appear extraordinary~i could eat this twice a day!
Wow, that looks stellar! I’m going to have to make that – pear and cheese is a winner.
steamy kitchen says
OMG…this salad….I MUST MAKE
Baking Soda says
Yeah I know this is way late as it’s Christmas 2011 now… just wanted to let you know your salad is called “Christmas salad” at our house and I received an email request from the inlaws yesterday night to bring this to our dinner party…. They said: you know that salad with the poached pears and stuff?
I know. I make it. Walnuts and cranberries are ready. Just wanted to let you know and thank you!!