Blueberry Poached Pear Salad
with blue cheese, candied walnuts and a raspberry malbec vinaigrette
It’s still winter in my little corner of the world and today was a total chiller! Temperatures dropped back down below zero and I didn’t even want to look at the wind chill factor. When temps go down that low when I’m getting to the point when I can’t wait until spring, it’s really hard to motivate myself to want a salad. Unless, of course, it is a gourmet French salad with a nice warm poached pear on top, creamy dreamy blue cheese and some candied nuts on top. Then it’s a WARMING salad with loads of comfort appeal.
Because I just adore poached pears, I look for reasons to incorporate them in my life. Even if you’re not a pear lover, you will adore poached pears. I fell in love with them one summer when an abundance of pears fresh from the tree were suddenly bestowed upon me. I searched out every way to enjoy a pear and poaching was one of my top favorites. It’s a French dessert thing, but it works remarkably well in a salad too.
I had one of these salads last weekend as a treat for myself, but after a couple of my yoga friends confessed to me that they would eat salads all the time if someone made them one (they dislike making salads for themselves), I decided I needed to share some of my salad creations with my yoga friends. After all, it’s just as easy to make a few salads as it is to make yourself one. So I made a bunch of poached pears last weekend so I could share with my yoga friends. Just one taker this week, but next week there are two more that want a sumptuous salad. This is good encouragement for me (and my friends!) to eat our salads even when it’s chilly outside. It’s sort of like a salad support group in a way.
- 3 - 4 ripe pears, peeled & halved
- 1 1/2 cups white wine
- 1/2 teaspoon real vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 cinnamon stick
- A small sprig of fresh rosemary
- 1/4 cup raspberry jam
- 1/4 cup malbec or other red wine
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons brown mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon dill
- 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon cayenne or powdered chimayo peppers
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Fresh spinach leaves or mixed greens
- Fresh blueberries
- Blue cheese crumbles
- Candied walnuts (recipe here)
- To poach the pears: Peel the pears carefully, leaving stems intact. Slice in half vertically, then use a melon baller to neatly remove the core. Set the pears aside.
- In a large saucepan, mix the wine, vanilla, honey and sugar. Add the cinnamon stick and rosemary and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, gently add the pears, and simmer for 10 minutes, then flip the pears to poach the other side. Simmer for another 10 minutes or until the pears are fork-tender.
- Remove from heat and let the pears bathe in the lovely liquid for about 30 minutes, then using a slotted spoon, gently remove the pears from the pan and bring the wine mixture back to a boil. Save the juices for another purpose. (I suggest boiling it down to the thickness of a syrup for pancakes or desserts.) All of this can be done well ahead of time and refrigerated in an airtight container.
- To prepare the dressing: whisk together all ingredients except the olive oil. While whisking, pour the olive oil in a thin stream into the dressing. Store the dressing in a covered bottle in the fridge.
- At salad time, cover your plate with greens, Add one or two pear halves. Sprinkle with blueberries, blue cheese crumbles and candied walnuts.
RECIPE SOURCE: http://www.sumptuousspoonfuls.com/
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This recipe was shared at Lenten Linkup Monday, Simple Supper Tuesday, Treasure Box Tuesday, Thursday Favorite Things, Freedom Fridays with All my Bloggy Friends, What to Do Weekends, Moonlight & Mason Jars, PureBlogLove and Hearth & Soul Bloghop.