Asian Pear Salad with Tamari Almonds and Blue Cheese

Asian Pear Salad with Blue Cheese

Asian Pear Salad with Tamari Pecans and Blue CheeseAsian Pears available from The Fruit Company®.

The soup was a hit.  Every bowl on the table was spooned clean, along with the rest of the soup you’d reserved for leftovers.  Note to self: next time make more soup.  The first rounds of belly pats are taking place at the table; some of your diners loosen their belts a notch.  They’re gauging the amount of space left for the rest of dinner and a few of them look worried—mostly the ones who went for seconds and thirds on the soup.

It’s salad time.

But it’s not time for any salad; you don’t believe in filler.  Your meal is following a tight progression, one that could be derailed by a lackluster salad.  That’s why you sought out the Asian Pears.

You love the taste, the texture, the way they mix the exotic and the familiar in such a satisfying way.  Blue cheese, glazed walnuts, and bitter greens?  So good.

Asian Pear Salad with Blue Cheese

Recipe courtesy of The Food Network.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons pear or cider vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons Pear Syrup, recipe follows
  • 1 teaspoon Extra-Virgin O Lemon Oil or unflavored extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 cups mixed bitter salad greens, such as baby mustard, lovage, arugula, dandelion, and mizuna
  • 1/4 cup chopped tamari pecans, recipe follows
  • 1/4 cup dried currants or chopped raisins
  • 1/4 cup crumbled chilled blue cheese (recommended: Maytag)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ripe Asian pear, cored, peeled and thinly sliced

Directions

Salad

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and syrup. Whisk in the oil and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the greens, pecans and currants. Sprinkle with the cheese and season lightly with salt and pepper. Whisk the dressing again and drizzle it over the salad.

Toss the salad gently and briefly; you do not want the cheese to crumble any further and clump together.

Divide the salad among 4 chilled salad plates. Fan the pear slices over each serving.

Pear Syrup:

Put the pear juice in a saucepan and set over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and skim the thick foam that rises to the surface.

Reduce the heat to low and simmer very gently, skimming occasionally, for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the juice reduces to the consistency of maple syrup.

Let cool to room temperature. Use now or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and syrup. Whisk in the oil and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the greens, pecans and currants. Sprinkle with the cheese and season lightly with salt and pepper. Whisk the dressing again and drizzle it over the salad.

Toss the salad gently and briefly; you do not want the cheese to crumble any further and clump together.

Divide the salad among 4 chilled salad plates. Fan the pear slices over each serving.

Tamari Pecans: (or Almonds)

1 tablespoon tamari sauce

2 teaspoons molasses

Cayenne pepper and salt

1 cup pecan halves

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a shallow bowl, stir the tamari and molasses together to blend. Season with cayenne and salt, to taste.

Add the pecans and toss until they are coated. Transfer the pecans to a clean kitchen towel and let drain briefly.

Spread the pecans on a wire rack set on a baking sheet and roast for about 10 minutes, or until fairly dry and toasted.

Remove from the oven and let cool completely on the rack. Chop the pecans into 1/4-inch pieces.

Notes

I used almonds in the recipe because they were the nuts I had on hand.  No harm done.

Since blue cheese can be such a divisive slice of dairy, feel free to substitute the cheese for something a little more mild.  Stick to crumbly cheeses if possible.

A Bountiful Feast: Next Recipe (Potato Cakes with Warm Cran-Apple Sauce)

The Fruit Company® got its start in 1942 when Roy Webster began selling apples and pears from his orchards located in Hood River, Oregon. The area was perfect for growing fruit thanks to the volcanically enriched soil and glacial water from the nearby Mt. Hood. The fruit was exceptional. The company was passed down from father to son and today is owned and operated by Roy's Grandson Scott Webster.

2 Comments

  • Reply November 27, 2010

    Pamela Black

    Pear juice – canned, bottled, or fresh juiced? Does it make a difference?
    Thanks!
    Pam

    • Reply November 29, 2010

      Daniel

      Any variety should work. As long as it’s liquid and able to reduce, it should work like a charm.

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