Crunchy Vegetable Salad with Pears and Creamy Cheddar Dressing

Crunchy Vegetable Salad with Pears and Creamy Cheddar Dressing
Here is a a beautiful and fresh take on a classic salad combination: fruit, nuts, and cheese. Toasted hazelnuts are the perfect match for sweet, ripe pears, and finely grated vintage cheddar cheese adds plenty of interest to the classic buttermilk dressing. Serve this salad as a unique accompaniment to any winter holiday meal. The crisp, fresh winter vegetables will make a perfect partner to a Thanksgiving turkey or any other roasted meat and the pears are a healthy and colorful addition.

Ingredients
Salad
1 head Romaine lettuce, chopped
1 small head radicchio, chopped
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced on a diagonal
2 USA Pears, such as Anjou or Bartlett, cored and sliced
⅓ cup toasted and chopped hazelnuts
Dressing
5 tablespoons mayonnaise
¾ cup buttermilk
¾ cup finely grated vintage sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons chopped chives
½ teaspoon salt
Several turns of freshly ground black pepper

Directions
Place the chopped lettuce and radicchio into a large bowl of ice water to crisp, and set aside for 15 minutes. The dressing can be prepared in the meantime (see below). After 15 minutes, drain the lettuce and radicchio and spin until dry. Add the sliced celery and pears, and gently toss. Divide the salad among six plates and spoon the dressing over the top. Sprinkle each serving with the chopped hazelnuts.
cheddar dressing

For the dressing: Combine all of the ingredients in a pint jar and shake vigorously to combine. Refrigerate until ready to use.

prep time: 30 minutes
yield: 6 servings

Something to be Thankful for: Ripe Pears!

fruit bowl

I bought these beautiful Bosc at the store on Sunday. They will be served as an hors d’oeuvre at Thanksgiving dinner at Grandma’s house, topped with parmesan cheese and wrapped in prosciutto (similar to these, but with my own twist). A light, yet savory-sweet prelude to our feast!

To make sure that the pears are at their peak ripeness for the big day, with that honey-sweet flavor that Bosc is famous for, I’ve left them at room temperature in the fruit bowl on my kitchen counter.  I’ve been checking the neck daily, and they are going to be pear-fectly ripe for Thursday!

Smoky Pear Bites

Last Friday, after a long week of work, I went home hungry, hot, and tired. I didn’t feel like turning on the oven, but I needed food, fast. I wanted something sweet, but salty. Easy, but tasty. And then I remembered: Smoky Pear Bites!

I came across this simple and ingenious recipe on one of my favorite blogs a few months ago, and I don’t know why I didn’t try it earlier. It combines one of the tastiest meats (bacon) with my favorite fruit (pears). Best of all, it’s perfect for sharing at parties and backyard barbecues.

Check out the original recipe at The Clothes Make The Girl.

Dinner Party, Anyone?

Featured Chef Stephen WardEntertaining this weekend?  Courtesy of Pear Panache Chef Stephen Ward of O’Connell Street Bistro in Auckland, New Zealand, you can serve up a gourmet meal with an international flair. Chef Ward’s elegant recipe is sure to impress your guests!

You can check out other mouth-watering recipes from our honored culinary professionals at PearPanache.com.  Click here to see our internationally-featured chefs and their recipes from around the world!

Seared Whangamata Scallops, Pear & Vanilla Puree, Snow Pea Tendrils and Chorizo Oil

pears and scallops recipe

Serves 4

32 fresh Whangamata or sea scallops, cleaned

Pear and Vanilla Puree
2 Anjou pears, peeled, cored and diced into pieces of equal size
100 ml (3.5 ounces) dry white wine
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 bay leaf
Pinch salt

Chorizo oil
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
50 g (1 3/4 ounces) chorizo sausage
150 ml (5 ounces) canola or vegetable oil
150 ml (5 ounces) olive oil
Fresh snow pea tendrils

To make the pear puree, place the ingredients in a non reactive saucepan and simmer over medium low heat until the pears are soft. Remove the vanilla bean pod and bay leaf, strain off the liquid and set aside. Puree the pears in a blender using the cooking liquid to make a smooth puree and achieve the proper consistency, slightly thinner than ketchup.

To make the chorizo oil, place the ingredients in a small pan and heat gently. Remove pan from the heat before the oil reaches a simmer. Set aside and allow to infuse. Strain when cool.

To assemble the dish, lightly season the scallops and sear in a hot pan, about 1 minute per side. Place a cluster of pea tendrils in the center of a plate and a spoonful of pear puree on either side of it. Use the back of a spoon to smear it in an irregular line from rim to rim. Arrange 4 scallops on top of each smear of puree. Drizzle all over with chorizo oil.

Prosciutto-Wrapped Pears

In a recent effort to impress a group of acquaintances, I scoured the Internet for a simple, but dressy appetizer with USA Pears. Ever since they learned I work for the Pear Bureau, they’ve been asking me to bring pears to the next gathering. They said they were joking, but I told them I’d do it anyway. Enter this deceptively simple recipe: Prosciutto-Wrapped Pears. They look beautiful on a platter, but with only four ingredients, they’re so easy to make!

To start, I caramelized an onion over medium heat and then added some reduced balsamic vinegar. You could also drizzle balsamic reduction over the finished product, but mine wasn’t quite as syrupy as I would have liked.

I cored and sliced some Anjou pears, keeping the skin on for color. It’s helpful to slice them into planks, not angled slices—this keeps the toppings where you want them.

Next, I laid a piece of prosciutto down, put a pear slice on top, and piled a few pieces of caramelized onion on top of the pear. I wrapped the prosciutto around the pear and onion, and voila!

Thanks to The Food Addicts for the inspiration! Note: they baked theirs for extra crisp and sizzle; I, well, forgot that step entirely. But my friends gobbled them down anyway! Enjoy.