If you gave my gift basket a good once over, you probably spotted a couple of delicious looking pears. I have had my eyes on those since the day that basket arrived. Today I finally got the opportunity to put them to good use as a starter for a rather complicated, but delicious dinner that I made to celebrate the departure of company, and my reacquainting myself with a kitchen that I hadn’t been able to use for more than a week. This salad says fall to me. There is just something about the color of the greens, the heartier, more pungent dressing, the dried fruit, toasted nuts, and juicy pears, that seems the perfect way to usher in fall in fine fashion.
The dressing can be made ahead, and you can do nearly all of your prep work in advance (EXCEPT slicing the pears, as they will darken), so that putting this together at dinnertime is a snap.
Pear and Walnut Salad
1 150g package blue cheese crumbles, divided
2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1⁄3 cup whole milk
5 drops hot sauce
5 drops hot sauce
4 cups mixed salad greens
2 Melissa’s D’Anjou pears, unpeeled, cored and sliced
1⁄2 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
1 Tablespoon dried cranberries
Freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of kosher salt
In a small mixer bowl using a hand mixer, beat together half the blue cheese with the cream cheese, milk, and hot sauce until well combined. If the dressing is too thick for your liking, add more milk, 1 tablespoon at a time. (May be made ahead and stored in the fridge for 2-3 days.)
Mound spring greens on individual salad plates. Arrange pears on top of greens. Drizzle dressing over pears. Top with remaining blue cheese, walnuts, and cranberries. Grind pepper over the top and lightly sprinkle with salt, to taste. Serve immediately. Makes four servings.
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