To pair with the walnut pate and pear sandwiches, I chose to prepare the roasted pear salad. Sorry, I couldn't help it!
Roasting pears results in a delicious, sweet, tender, and less mealy product. The warm, soft pear becomes buttery, and makes this salad something very special. Fresh figs are in season right now and you can make jam yourself, or you can purchase whole fig preserves. I haven't been able to keep any figs around long enough to cook with them. As soon as I get my hands on them they're diced and thrown into a bowl of yogurt and honey!
The original recipe calls for a pat of goat cheese roasted in the pear cavity, but I had some Amish blue cheese to use up, and I love pairing blue cheese with fruit. I also had organic cherry tomatoes, so I topped the salad with those rather than the nuts called for in the original recipe. Clearly, I can't stick with a recipe, but that's ok! It's great to adapt things to suit your tastes, dietary needs and what you have on hand.
I look forward to roasting many more pears this fall for both sweet and savory dishes. Do you have any favorite pear-centric favorites?
Tips and Trades:
-When you're at the market, choose whatever organic green is on sale that week for the salad, you can't go wrong! Baby spinach creates a soft bed to let the pear flavor shine, and arugula's peppery flavor will contrast with the sweet, buttery pear, for example.
Roasted Pear salad with Blue Cheese and Fig Vinaigrette
adapted from Vegetarian Times, October 2010
1 Bosc pear, halved and cored
2 + 3 tbsp. Fig Preserves
2 oz. blue cheese crumbles
1 tbsp. EVOO
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. dijon mustard
4 c. baby spinach
Red onion slices
Cherry tomato halves
Walnuts or pecans
Preheat oven to 350*
Wash pear, slice in half and use a melon baller to remove core.
Spoon 1 tbsp. fig preserves into each half, top with 1 oz. blue cheese.
Place in the oven and roast for 30-40 minutes, until tender.
In a small dish, whisk together EVOO, 3 tbsp. fig preserves, lemon juice, dijon mustard, salt and pepper.
Taste and adjust if necessary.
Remove pears from the oven, cool for 5 minutes.
Place greens on a plate, top with pear and other salad ingredients.
Drizzle with viniagrette, serve.