Tag Archives: Pear

Spinach Salad with Pears and Gorgonzola

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Pears with gorgonzola is  just one of those classic combinations. Put them in salad with any kind of greens. Pick what you like best, anything from a spicy arugula or watercress to a mild butter lettuce.We used fresh baby spinach.The same goes for the pears: Bosc, Bartlett, Anjou or Comice would all be great choices.

And since the ingredients in this pear salad are so delicious, a champagne vinaigrette with a hint of lemon juice and Dijon mustard worked best for this salad. A heavy dressing would mask the delicate flavors.  A sprinkling of cheese, walnuts and  pomegranate arils also adds flavors and makes for  delicious lighter first course to start off a meal.

Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 tablespoons minced shallot
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
10 ounces baby spinach, washed and dried
4 ounces Gorgonzola cheese*
1 medium Bosc pear, cored and thinly sliced*
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (arils), for garnish
1/2 toasted walnuts, roughly chopped, for garnish

Champagne Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:
For the Salad:
In a large bowl, add shallot,  salt and pepper. Add the olive oil, whisking constantly while drizzling the oil slowly. Add the spinach and toss with tongs until the leaves are well coated.

For Champagne Vinaigrette:
In a small bowl or glass jar, add all the ingredients except the olive oil. Mix well, then slowly drizzle in the olive oil  and whisk until the mixture is emulsified. Refrigerate until ready to use.

To serve, evenly divide spinach greens between 4 salad plates. Top each plate with cheese and garnish with pear slices, pomegranate seeds, and walnuts and serve with a drizzle of champagne vinaigrette.

*Cook’s Notes:
You can substitute Blue cheese or Roquefort cheese for the Gorgonzola.
Any variety of apple can also be used as a substitute for the pears.

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Octopus with Black Bean-Pear Sauce

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Le Bernardin chef Eric Ripert is a master at weaving together unexpected ingredients, like this tender  cooked octopus with a sauce of salty fermented black beans and sweet pear. Finding a wine pairing for such a complex dish, however, is a challenge. “It needs a very aromatic wine, just to stand up to all the flavors,” says wine director Aldo Sohm.

I used a fresh baby octopus that was available at the Asian Market in my local area. Cooking the octopus by this method ensure a very tender protein.

Given the amount of salt in the various components of this dish, I omitted the squid ink. I also added a pinch of brown sugar just give a little more sweetness to the dish and to balance out the acidity of the lemon juice and the balsamic vinegar.

Enoy!

Serves 4
Ingredients:

For the Octopus
6 garlic cloves, halved
2 parsley sprigs
One 2-ounce piece of prosciutto
1 teaspoon salt
4 octopus tentacles (about 2 pounds total)

For the Black Bean–Pear Sauce:
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons Chinese fermented black beans, rinsed
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 small shallot, minced
1 tablespoon finely diced red bell pepper
1 tablespoon finely diced jalapeño
1/2 small Bartlett pear, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced chives

For the Miso Vinaigrette:

1 tablespoon white miso
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon squid ink (optional)
2 tablespoons water
Salt and freshly ground pepper

To Finish:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons hot paprika
Salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
16 baby arugula leaves
1 small Anjou pear, cut into very thin wedges

Directions:
In a large, deep skillet, combine 2 quarts of water with the onion, garlic, parsley, prosciutto and salt. Cover, bring to a boil and simmer over moderate heat for 5 minutes. Add the octopus to the broth, cover partially and simmer over low heat until tender, about 1 hour; drain and pat dry.

In a small skillet, heat the vegetable oil. Add the black beans and cook over moderate heat for 2 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger and shallot and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the red bell pepper and jalapeño and cook until starting to soften, about 2 minutes. Stir in the pear and remove from the heat. Stir in the lemon juice and chives.

In a small bowl, whisk the miso with the balsamic vinegar, oil, squid ink and 2 tablespoons of water. Season with salt and pepper.

In a bowl, mix the olive oil with the paprika and rub it all over the cooked octopus; season with salt. In a skillet, heat the vegetable oil until shimmering. Add the octopus and cook over high heat until browned all over, about 6 minutes. Transfer the octopus to a carving board and slice it crosswise 1/3 inch thick.

Spread the vinaigrette on 4 plates and top with the octopus. Spoon the black bean–pear sauce over the octopus. Garnish with the arugula and pear wedges and serve.