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Roasted Pear and Arugula Salad with Caramelized Shallot Vinaigrette

This attractive salad features the classic combination of pears, nuts, and blue cheese. It’s delicious as an appetizer and also makes a great entrée topped with a piece of grilled or hot smoked fish. (Omit the blue cheese if serving with fish.)
Roasted Pear and Arugula Salad with Caramelized Shallot Vinaigrette by the CIA-F

Ingredients

Roasted Pear and Arugula Salad

Makes 6 Servings

  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 unpeeled Bartlett pears
  • 3 cups baby arugula
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, toasted, chopped
  • 1/3 cup blue cheese, crumbled

Vinaigrette

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • Freshly cracked black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. To make the pears: Combine the lemon juice, honey, and salt. Cut the pears in half lengthwise and remove the stem down to the core. Remove the core with a melon baller, and remove the tiny piece of skin at the blossom end of the pears. Combine the pears with the lemon mixture.
  3. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. (You will never get the baking sheet clean if you don’t use the foil.) Place a rack on top of the foil in the baking sheet, and place the pears, cut side up, on the rack, reserving the lemon juice mixture. Drizzle or brush each pear with a little of the lemon mixture, reserving a little bit for use during cooking, if possible. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven.
  4. Roast until the pears are completely tender and slightly caramelized on top, about 40 minutes, depending on the size of the pear. If you have any remaining lemon mixture, brush the pears with it about halfway through the cooking time. Pierce the pears with a skewer to check for doneness. Remove the pears from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Once cool, cut each pear into 3 slices.
  5. To make the vinaigrette: Warm the oil in a pan over low heat. Add the shallots and cook until they are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Cook the shallots slowly and watch them very closely once they just start to brown; shallots can burn quickly. When they are golden brown, strain them from the oil and quickly transfer them to a plate lined with paper towels. Use two forks to spread out the shallots into a single layer so that they cool quickly. Reserve the oil in a bowl and allow it to cool to room temperature.
  6. When the oil is cool, whisk in the vinegar, olive oil, honey, salt, and pepper. Add half of the shallots to the vinaigrette. Taste the dressing and adjust as necessary with additional honey and/or vinegar. It should be sweet, but if serving the salad with fish, you should make it a little more tart. Season with additional salt and pepper as needed, and chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  7. Combine the pear slices, arugula, about 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette, the walnuts, the remaining shallots, and blue cheese in a large bowl and toss to make sure that everything is evenly coated with the dressing. Taste, adjust the seasoning with additional salt and pepper as needed, and add more dressing if necessary.
  8. To serve, pick the pear slices out of the bowl of salad, and place 3 slices onto each of 6 chilled plates. Divide the salad equally among the plates.

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