Friday, February 5, 2016

Poached Pear Salad with a Tupelo-Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette

Day 123

I recently had the fun opportunity to taste a French cheese sample of Saint Géric blue from the Fromagerie Guilloteau. You can read more about that at the food and entertainment website, where I wrote a full story and review.  It was such a fun experience!

Here, I wanted to share the recipe I created after trying the cheese sample, and I hope you’ll look for this cheese when you’re out shopping next. Sellers include Whole Foods and Wegmans. It is truly one of the best cheese tastings I’ve ever had, and I am definitely going to use it for parties and cheese platters from now on.

Photo by Maggie Kapustin
Double crème meets bleu in this sensational Saint Géric cheese, so it pairs beautifully with a salad of bitter and sweet greens. This salad stands alone quite beautifully for a lunch gathering or dinner, but grilled, sliced flank steak is also a delicious addition for heartier fare. 

You’ll notice that I recommend Tupelo honey rather than other varieties. I chose Tupelo because of its distinct flavor and how well it shines through any recipe, even a tangy traditional French vinaigrette.  Of course, 
it’s not always easy to find, so your 
favorite honey will also work nicely.

Finally, poaching your pears in advance is optional. We tried it both ways, and found that the crunch of a fresh pear was also very pleasing, and the peeling added a nice presentational dimension, so you choose. 

(Poached) Pear Salad with a Tupelo-Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette

The Salad- 
2 cups arugula
2 cups baby romaine lettuce 
½ cup slivered, toasted almonds
½ cup pumpkin seeds
¼ cup dried cranberries
2 pears, poached, sliced cool (poaching optional)
1 small red onion, sliced
½ cup shredded raw beets
½ cup shredded carrots 
¼ cup crumbled ricotta salata cheese
4 oz. Saint Géric bleu cheese, cut into small pieces
(plus 4 oz. Saint Géric bleu cheese, for serving with salad and bread)

The Vinaigrette- 
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. minced garlic
6 tbs. balsamic vinegar
1 cup good olive oil (I use Olea from Olea Estates)
3 tbs. Tupelo honey (or any good quality honey)
sea salt and ground black pepper 

The vinaigrette- 
In a mixing bowl, combine 1 tsp. salt and ½ tsp. black pepper, garlic, mustard, honey, and vinegar. Whisking constantly, add the olive oil until the vinaigrette is emulsified. Taste and add more salt and pepper as needed.

Add the arugula, romaine, onions, and beets to the vinaigrette and toss to coat thoroughly.

Use salad tongs to place on a platter, then sprinkle with remaining ingredients. Serve immediately with a crusty French baguette or a pain de compagne, a side of Saint Géric for spreading, and a glass of your favorite sparkling wine.