Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Roasted Pears with Blue Cheese

It seems like the combination of pears and blue cheese is a pretty trendy flavor pairing right now--in the past month, I've had it three times.  It is a popular pairing because it is a good combination.  The sweetness of the pears with the sharpness of the blue cheese.  Yum.  Try it on bruschetta or salad.  In fact, I have some leftover pears from this salad, I might just bake a loaf of bread!  I made this salad for our Thanksgiving this year (my sister and I tend to lean toward the "gourmet" side of cooking, so it fit right it) and it received some mixed reviews.  If your palate is adventurous and you like extraordinary flavors, you will love this salad.  If you are looking to expand your culinary horizons, you will love this salad.  If you are looking for a fresh way to incorporate pears into your cooking, you will love this salad.  (Are you noticing a theme here?!)

Roasted Pears with Blue Cheese
Source: Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics by Ina Garten

3 ripe but firm d' Anjou pears*  
freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup pecan halves, chopped
1/2 cup apple cider
3 tbl. red wine
1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/4 cup good olive oil
6 ounces baby arugula
kosher salt, optional
*To ripe pears to perfection, place them in a brown paper sack with a banana in the sack.  Fold sack over to close.  In a couple days, they will be ripe but firm, juicy but not mushy.  Perfect.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Squeeze lemon juice into a small bowl.

Peel the pear (a vegetable peeler works the best!) and slice them lengthwise into halves.  With a small sharp paring knife, remove the core and seeds from each pear, leaving a round well for the filling.  Trim a small slice away from the rounded sides of each pear half so they they will sit in the baking dish without wobbling.  Toss the pears with lemon juice to prevent them from turning brown.  Arrange them, core side up, in a baking dish large enough to hold the pears snugly.

Gently toss the crumbled blue cheese, dried cranberries, and pecans together in a small bowl.  Divide the mixture among the pears, mounding it on top of the indentation.

In the same small bowl, combine the cider, red wine, and brown sugar, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Pour the mixture over and around the pears.  Bake the pears, basting occasionally with the cider mixture, for 30 minutes, or until tender.  Set aside until warm or room temperature.

Just before serving, whisk together the olive oil, 1/4 cup of the lemon juice, and 1/4 cup of the cider basting liquid in a large bowl or shake in a jar.  Add the arugula and toss well.  Divide the arugula among 6 plates and top each with a pear half.  Drizzle each pear with some of the basting liquid, sprinkle with salt (if desired), and serve.

1 comment:

  1. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the combination of pears, blue cheese and walnuts...I'd have to substitute out the pecans!! This looks devine (gotta love Ina) :)



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