Perfect Party Salad

Pear Salad

My friends and I love throwing dinner parties. Sometimes it feels like there’s a party once a week. It can get chaotic and stressful. Normally, when we have dinner parties, everyone brings a dish. However, upon asking what to bring (gotta brainstorm sometimes and don’t want to double up) I get the dreaded response; “Just bring a salad.” For me a cringe worthy sentence. I seemed to lack a creativity gene when it comes to greens and have salad envy. I mean we all have that one friend who always brings a beautiful bright salad with uniformly chopped veggies that were tossed in a bold home-made dressing! My go-to salad is simply iceberg lettuce, low-fat dressing and a handful of Craisins, all of this was thrown into my fanciest little salad bowl. (my mini attempt of flaring up my pathetic little salad). Now there is nothing wrong with plain salads, trust me I could eat plenty, but I really wanted to find a recipe that stepped my salad game up and hopefully “WOW” my friends!

I dusted off my new, and by new, I mean I purchased it over a year ago and never touched it cookbook, Without Reservations, by Celebrity Chef Joey Altman. I flipped through the pages searching for the best looking salad recipe. I wanted something simple, yet satisfying, but also something unique that made me look more creative than just ice-berg Craisin salad girl. After a few minutes I had exactly what I was looking for, a Mixed Green, Blue Cheese and Spiced Pecan Salad, with a twist, Roasted Pears!

The recipe was easy enough to follow. I began with prewashed organic mixed greens, it costs a little more, but was well worth the price for the convenience it provided. Next were the organic pears, unfortunately I was in the rush at the store and grabbed smaller, not very ripe pears. I baked them slightly longer than the recipe called for and when they came out of the oven they smelled amazing! In fact, I had to keep a watchful eye out to make sure no sneaky little fingers were gonna snag away my pears before going upon the salad. I wish I had measured the ingredients for the Spiced Pecans a little more accurately. I could’ve use a tad bit less water and a pinch more of the spices. Oh well, the fun of cooking does come from learning. Mistakes are okay in my book, use them to learn and better hone your skills for the next cooking venture. Anyway, I was a little intimidated with making the dressing, I tried in the past to concoct my own and usually end with too much oil or too much vinegar or not enough flavor. This time I was determined to get it right! I followed the directions exactly and then continued to add more seasoning here and vinegar there to taste. Eventually, I managed to find that perfect balance I was looking for.  To finish, I topped the salad off with double the normal blue cheese, only because my friends and I like our blue cheese.

Rating: Overall, easy to follow recipe, not too time consuming, flavor was outstanding. Will make again.


Mixed Greens with Roasted Pears, Blue Cheese and Spiced Pecans

2-4 pears, peeled and quartered

1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

3-4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Salt and Pepper

1-2 tablespoons of brown sugar

1cup whole pecans

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 medium shallot

4-6 oz mixed greens

4 oz blue cheese

Preheat oven 350 F. Remove center core of pears and quarter. Toss with 1 tablespoon oil and one tablespoon balsamic. Bake until soft, 25 min. Cool and cut into slices.

Toss pecans in 1-2 tablespoons of water, the chili powder, cayenne and brown sugar. Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet 8-10 min.

Mix 2-3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar with shallots and wish in remaining olive oil. Season with salt and pepper

Toss. Enjoy.

 

Mixed Greens with Roasted Pears, Blue Cheese and Spiced Pecans
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
 
Ingredients
  • 2-4 pears, peeled and quartered
  • ½ cup + 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 1cup whole pecans
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 medium shallot
  • 4-6 oz mixed greens
  • 4 oz blue cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven 350 F. Remove center core of pears and quarter. Toss with 1 tablespoon oil and one tablespoon balsamic. Bake until soft, 25 min. Cool and cut into slices.
  2. Toss pecans in 1-2 tablespoons of water, the chili powder, cayenne and brown sugar. Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet 8-10 min.
  3. Mix 2-3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar with shallots and wish in remaining olive oil. Season with salt and pepper
  4. Toss. Enjoy.

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