A fresh change of taste. The amount of servings depends on the additions and naturally, whether it's served as a side or main meal.
For the vinaigrette
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh limes or 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- 1 1⁄4 teaspoons Dijon mustard or 1 1⁄4 teaspoons whole grain prepared mustard
- 1⁄4-1⁄2 teaspoon maple syrup or 1⁄4-1⁄2 teaspoon honey
- 2 teaspoons finely minced green onions
- salt and pepper
For the walnuts
- 1 cup walnut halves
- 1⁄2 teaspoon butter
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup or 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 dash cayenne or 1 dash hot smoked paprika
For the salad
- 1⁄2 lb arugula, mesclun, romaine, mache, spinach (whatever may be your preference)
- 3 firm bartlett pears, washed, cored and sliced into very thin wedges (skin remaining)
- 4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (gorgonzola, Stilton, etc.)
- 2 slices bacon, cooked until crisp and well drained
- 1⁄2-1 lb cooked sliced chicken (optional)
- Whisk together all vinaigrette ingredients until well blended; set aside.
- In a small frying pan set on a medium heat, melt the butter, stir in the maple syrup or honey and then stir in the walnuts. Continue to heat the walnuts, stirring continuously, for approximately 2-3 minutes or until they are fragrant, caramelized and lightly browned. Remove from the heat; set aside.
- Place the greens in a large salad bowl or, if individual servings are preferred, distribute them equally among 6 salad plates. Sprinkle over the pears, blue cheese and walnuts. Place over chicken then drizzle with dressing and toss.
- Note: I find having the chicken warmed is superior to cold chicken.
I made a vegetarian version of this salad, obviously by leaving out the bacon and chicken...and it was fantastic! I really really loved it, from the delicately candied walnuts to the creamy blue cheese - mmmm, I wish there was some left over. This would be a fabulous salad to serve on a special occassion - but certainly not that time intensive that you couldn't make it any old time. If I were to change anything, I might just double up on the ingredients to 'candy' the walnuts - they were so darn good I would like a bit more of that flavour in the finished product. Be careful with your pears, sliced thinly they are super delicate. Thanks GailAnn!
Pears and blue cheese are a match made in heaven and when you add this delicious dressing along with bacon and the walnuts, it definitely makes the salad out of this world good! I did not add the chicken as I served this dish as a side salad, but I'll be willing to bet that with the addition of the chicken, it would make a great light lunch or dinner. Made for New Kids On the Block, March, 2012.
Tasty. I only had head lettuce in the house, arugula would have been better. Having no walnuts, I used pecans. Blue cheese, pear and nuts is a clasic profile. Taste wise the bacon in unecessary in this recipe, in my opnion. I chose not to add chicken.