The best part about the food for the dinner party we had last week was that the prep work for all of the recipes could be done ahead of time. When it came time to serve everything, it was simply a matter of throwing it in the oven or putting it all together before it could be served. This made it easy for everything to be done at the same time and we were able to sit down and eat together. It was really fun to get to know some of Penny’s friends along with getting a good dose of what it’s like to be married with kids. Unfortunately, most of the discussion probably shouldn’t be repeated on a public blog but it can be summed up in four words: husbands, donkeys, and spandex pants.
The salad dish for the night had a combination of ingredients I’ve been wanting to try for a long time: pears and blue cheese. I’ve had lots of different fruits in salads like strawberries, blueberries, apples, and mandarin oranges, but never pears.
I love a salad that has the sweet and salty aspect, along with lots of different textures. This salad combines sweet caramelized (in butter and sugar!) pears, creamy and pungent blue cheese, and crunchy candied pecans in a mixed green salad. It is tossed in a tangy white-balsamic and dijon based vinaigrette that added a nice flavor without overbearing the salad toppings.
The candied pecans can be substituted with candied walnuts or almonds, and you can use gorgonzola cheese instead of blue cheese if you want. However, the caramelized pears really made the salad so don’t go skipping that step!
Caramelized Pear and Blue Cheese Salad
makes 4 small salads (I doubled it)
from chaos in the kitchen
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
6 cups spring greens
1/2 cup red onion, sliced
2 pears, cut into 8 slices each
2 tbsp butter
2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup candied pecans
1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
To make the dressing: combine the oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper in bowl or jar and whisk or shake to combine. Set aside
To make the pears: in large skillet melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the pears and sprinkle with sugar. Cook without stirring for 4-6 minutes, or until underside is golden and caramelized. Flip each slice over and cook the second side until golden.
Combine the salad greens and red onion in large bowl. Toss with 1/2 of the dressing and top with pears, pecans, and blue cheese. Arrange on plates or a platter, and drizzle with remaining dressing.