I first saw this pear salad recipe in the middle of summer and was a bit disappointed that it was marked as
a winter salad. But on my next trip to the grocery store I found Barlett pears, so I decided that it was
definitely the right season to enjoy this easy salad recipe. It is a rather stunning combination of flavors: salty, sweet, sour
and bitter all rolled into one.
Arugula Lettuce - The Bitter
Arugula lettuce is a salad green that originated in the Mediterranean although it is now found all over the
world. It is popular in Italian cuisine, but the French, who call it roquette, are quite taken with it as
well. It belongs to the family of crucifers (like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage), is nutrition packed and of course low in calories.
You may be somewhat surprised by the taste of arugula if you've never had it. It is bitter, like many salad
greens, but it also has a strong onion, or perhaps mustard taste. If you find it overpowering (some people
do) mix it with other young greens so that it is just an accent flavor in this pear salad recipe.
Balsamic Vinegar - The Sour
Balsamic vinegar is a dark, sweet smelling vinegar made from unfermented grape juice. Real balsamic vinegar
is expensive and is made by moving the vinegar around between barrels made from different sorts of woods to
obtain various flavors. It can be aged 12, 18, 25 or even 50 years! To make this pear salad recipe, you
needn't invest your life's savings but do try to find an authentic balsamic and not one just colored with
If you're interested in trying some of the good stuff, here's one that you can even eat on ice cream.
Roquefort Cheese - The Salty
Roquefort cheese is made from unpasteurized sheep's milk. It has the greenish blue veining that characterizes all blue cheese and although high in calories and fat, it is a good source of calcium, phosphorous, and magnesium. Also, it has such a strong, rich flavor that a small amount goes a long way.
According to legend, this cheese was first made near Roquefort-sur-Soulzon in the south of France, when a shepherd in a hurry to visit his sweetheart, left a piece of cheese behind in a cave he had sought shelter in. When he returned several months later, he found his cheese veined with blue mold and more delicious than ever.
Roquefort cheese is graced with an AOC (Appellation d'Origine Controlée), a designation that guarantees that the cheese has been made in a precisely controlled fashion. In keeping with the legend, only cheese that has been aged in the caves of Combalou at Roquefort-sur-Soulzon can receive this appellation.
Bartlett Pear - The Sweet
This pear salad recipe originally called for winter pears, but since it is summertime, I used a red Bartlett pear that is wonderful right now. Bartlett pears work fine in a recipe like this where they are slightly cooked.
Salade de roquette aux poires et roquefort
Pear and Blue Cheese Salad
3 pears, cored and sliced in half inch or so sections
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
Arrange the arugula and blue cheese on six salad plates.
Melt the butter on medium heat in a saucepan just large enough to hold the pear slices in one layer. Add the pears and cook for two minutes, shaking the pan occasionally. Turn them over and cook for one more minute.
Remove the pears and arrange them on the salad plates.
Add the vinegar to the pan and return it to the heat. Simmer the vinegar for three minutes to reduce it and incorporate the flavors left in the pan. Remove from the heat and stir in the olive oil. Pour a little of the warm dressing on each of the salads and serve immediately.