Roasted Blue Pear Salad

The new year is starting off to be the most hectic yet. Happily I can say that I am experiencing an embarrassment of riches.

I have now commenced my final semester of studies, which means I am feverishly working on my Master’s Thesis. I had been dreading this project, but now that I’ve sunk my teeth into it I am finding it to be extremely soul satisfying. As I work through the research I can feel the hours, months and years of my education coming to fruition. It’s like moving to a foreign land and suddenly you realize that you are a fluent speaker and you can get around with ease. I KNOW this stuff! Even better is I have come to appreciate that the mind- my mind– has the capacity to learn and expand in ways I never thought possible.

At the beginning of the year I also started my field work with Toby Amidor, RD. She is a practicing dietitian who also writes for The TV Food Network’s Healthy Eating Blog, Sear’s Fit Studio, and countless other publications. She is monster in the amount that she juggles, which she does with incredible grace and intensity. I met Toby back in December at a lecture that she was giving on social media for dietitians. I knew immediately that I wanted to work with her, and I am delighted that she agreed to take me on.

With Toby I am learning to be a more technical writer, and she is introducing me to the world of the entrepreneurial dietitian. It’s been a staggering departure from the writing I do here and I am loving it.

I am also gearing up for The Cookbook Conference next week at Hotel Roger Smith. I attended last year and was blown away. The venue is intimate, which enabled me to meet and chat with some of the heavy hitters in the cookbook world. It was there that I also met some of my dearest foodie friends to date, Gail Dosik, Maggie Battista, Cathy Wheelbarrow– to name just a few.

So, my dear ones, I haven’t had the time to develop new recipes at all. Most of my day is spent chained to my desk digging into pages and pages of research analysis. I haven’t had much time to shop either, so for fun I decided to give myself a little challenge and not shop at all this week.

The goal was to see if I could prepare a week’s worth of elegant, albeit simple, meals with just the things I had on hand. Surprisingly this has been a fun little experiment and not nearly as tough as I thought it would be. This may however be more of a statement to my stocking treasures {read TOO many treasures} that I don’t get around to consuming.

I’ve used spices I brought back from Thailand to make green curry over scented rice. I handmade tortillas with masa, and filled them with shrimp out of the freezer and accented it with homemade sriracha. I’ve eaten frozen yogurt with some dulce de leche leftover from the holidays, and I’ve made pizza dough, which I piled with the odds and ends of the vegetable bin and the cheese drawer.  It’s been so much fun I may keep on going until I am forced to stop. Once I started getting creative with what’s on hand, I got myself on a roll. {next is whole grain waffles with warm fruit compote using frozen fruits, and I’ve got polenta, ricotta cheese and spinach which will become something…}

This pear salad happened earlier this week. One of my treasures was a fresh wedge of my favorite blue cheese {Rogue Creamery Smoked Blue}. I had only 2 strips of applewood smoked bacon, so this plus that became the other.

I have a hard time eating salads in the winter. Once an Ayurvedic practitioner told me I was a something-or-other, (hatha? pitta?), which explained that I preferred warm foods during the cold days and vice versa. It’s not like I needed telling, I tend to shy away from the thought of crispy salads in the darker days of the year. Roasting the pears though takes the edge off. It also adds the best flavor in the world, caramelization, which is really the only excuse I need.

Roasted Blue Pear Salad
serves 4
 
2 strips of thick apple smoked bacon
1T unsalted butter
1t sugar
2 bosc pears
juice of one small lemon
.25 t dijon mustard
.5 clove garlic, minced
~5T olive oil- to taste
S & P
4 handfuls baby arugula, washed
.25c red onion, thinly sliced
2 oz Rogue Creamery Smoked Blue Cheese
 
Preheat the oven to 350˚
 
In a small, oven proof sauté pan over medium heat,  fry the bacon until crisp. Drain the bacon on paper towels, reserving the fat.
 
Pour off all but 1T of bacon grease and add butter and sugar. Melt over medium heat.
 
Cut pears in half and using a teaspoon gauge out the centers creating a delicate cup.
 
Place pears face down in the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes until a nice caramelization develops of the edges of the pears. Then place the entire pan in the oven.
 
Meanwhile, in a large bowl place the lemon juice, mustard and garlic and whisk to combine. While continuing to whisk, slowly add the oil until emulsified. Taste for acid balance, adding more oil if needed. Then salt and pepper to taste.
 
Toss in arugula and onions and turn over with tongs to cover in dressing. Divide greens amongst 4 plates.
 
When the pears turn a brownish color and start to show translucency around the edges, remove from the oven.
 
Place a pear on each place and stuff center with cheese. Sprinkle with chopped bacon and serve warm.
 
A little extra salt and a fresh grind of pepper is a nice finish.

 

Comments

  1. Final semester and a Masters coming up? Congrats!

    Another great post with a delicious recipe and pics. This foodie is impressed!

    Phil
    http://www.blog.theregularguynyc.com

  2. Gorgeous salad! Pear and blue cheese is one of the best combos.

    Congrats on everything you have going on! Made me a little tired just reading about it! 🙂