This Grilled Pear Salad with Blue Cheese and Port Vinaigrette is a wonderful winter salad.
The blue cheese and port vinaigrette make it a bold salad. It is great served beside steak or as a starter course.
You could also serve in summer and grill your pears along with your steaks on the BBQ!
It came from a Bon Appetit reader’s request after they had it at Al Beirnat’s restaurant in Dallas, Texas. They describe themselves as an upscale steak house. They do seem to be an institution because this recipe appeared in the August 2000 Bon Appetit edition and Al Beirnat’s is still going strong today.
Not everyone is a blue cheese fan. If you want to play it safe choose a mild blue cheese like Gorgonzola or Cambozola. You could also reduce the cheese to a half ounce per person and use it as a garnish on the top of the salad so someone could easily remove it or avoid it if they are not a fan.
You can also substitute bacon for the prosciutto if you want. I like prosciutto for its saltiness and it is so easy to prepare in the microwave.
- 1 cup walnuts whole or large pieces
- 6 slices prosciutto
- 3 pears
- cooking spray
- 8 cups mixed greens
- 6 oz blue cheese
- 1 cup Ruby Port
- 1 shallot minced
- 1/2 cup walnut oil can sub olive oil
- 1 1/2 Tbsps red wine vinegar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- Preheat broiler. Spray a baking pan with cooking spray. Peel and core pears. Slice lengthwise and arrange slices in one layer on the baking pan. You should get at least 8 slices of pear per pear. Spray the pears with cooking spray.
- Broil until pears turn golden brown on both sides. This may take 4-5 minutes per side. Watch carefully so they don't burn.
- Put walnuts in a non-stick frying pan. Heat walnuts over medium high heat, stirring often. Remove from heat when they start turning browner and you can smell them.
- Spread prosciutto on a microwaveable plate in one layer. Microwave until the slices are crisp and brittle. This takes about 4 minutes but check them often since microwave strengths vary. Allow slices to cool and them crumble them.
- Bring port and shallots to a boil over medium high heat in a saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer until port is reduced by half (about 10 minutes). Strain the port and allow to cool. Discard shallots. Whisk remaining dressing ingredients together just before serving.
- Toss greens, prosciutto, walnuts and blue cheese together. Divide evenly among 6 plates. Divide pear slices evenly and mound them in the center of the salad plate. Drizzle dressing over the salad just before serving.