Roasting pears concentrates their flavor and brings out their sweetness. Paired with salty blue cheese and tart Champagne vinegar, they make a dramatic salad that highlights the fall fruit. If you’re lucky enough to have a vegetable garden, feel free to use whatever baby greens are ready to be picked in place of the lettuce.
Harvest Salad with Blue Cheese and Roasted Pears
For the roasted pears:
2 firm but ripe Bosc pears, halved and cored
1 tsp. olive oil
Salt, to taste
For the vinaigrette:
1 shallot, minced
1 tsp. chopped fresh tarragon
1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) Champagne vinegar
1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 heads assorted lettuce such as Little Gem or red leaf, larger leaves torn, smaller leaves left whole
1 small bunch rainbow carrots, shaved
1/2 cup (1 oz./30 g) toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g) crumbled blue cheese
Preheat an oven to 375°F (190°C).
To roast the pears, brush the pear halves with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt to taste. Arrange the pears, cut side down, in a single layer in a baking pan or on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and, using tongs, gently turn the pears over. Continue roasting until the pears are tender and slightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes more. Let cool.
To make the vinaigrette, in a small bowl, whisk together the shallot, tarragon and vinegar. Slowly whisk in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
To assemble the salad, in a large bowl, combine the lettuce and carrots and add the vinaigrette to taste, tossing well to coat the vegetables thoroughly. Place one pear half on each of 4 salad plates and divide the lettuce mixture among the plates. Sprinkle each salad evenly with the pumpkin seeds and blue cheese, season with salt and pepper and serve immediately. Serves 4.
Williams-Sonoma Test Kitchen