It’s a classic: pears and cheese. Pears and blue cheese. And, a salad with pears and blue cheese is always welcome. But, how do we extend that numminess and maximize the wonderfulness of pears along with the salty, oakey traits that a great Roquefort imparts. Hey, roast your pears! Roasting gives your pears a great caramelized quality that marries ridiculously with the Roquefort. And, because that’s not enough…how about a dressing that pulls it all together — using maple syrup!
Ok, you may doubt me, but I DARE you to try it. One word of caution: the recipe as shared makes a lot of dressing. Don’t just dump it all on your salad and expect it to be exceptional. Use it sparingly: toss your greens lightly, you can always add more. Drizzle some after you’ve plated your salad and add drops more as you like.
Roasted Pear and Roquefort Salad
- 4 slices thick-cut bacon
- 3 slightly underripe Bosc or Anjou Pears
- 2 tsp granulated sugar
- 5 Tbsp neutral oil, either avocado or light olive oil
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- 3 Tbsp high quality maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp fresh cracked pepper
- 6 cups romaine hearts, cut into 2" pieces
- 1/3 cup fresh chives or green onions, cut into 1" pieces
- 4 oz Roquefort cheese, crumbled
- Cut bacon into 1/2" slices. Cook bacon pieces in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove bacon from skillet and drain on a paper-towel lined plate. Drain bacon fat from pan and wipe pan clean with another paper towel.
- Cut pears in half, remove core and quarter. If pears are large, cut each quarter in half. In a large bowl, toss pear wedges carefully with sugar.
- Add one tablespoon to skillet and heat over medium heat until oil is shimmery. Place pears, cut side down, into skillet, being careful not to crowd wedges. Cook pears until well-browned, flipping them over 1/2 way through cooking for other side. If necessary, cook pears in batches, adding a little more oil to skillet with the second batch of pears. As pears cook, transfer them to a large plate or platter to cool completely.
- While pears are cooling, whisk cider vinegar, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper and remaining oil together in a large bowl. (Alternatively, you can put all dressing ingredients into a tight-sealing jar and shake vigorously until complete combined.)
- Add lettuce and chives (or green onions) to bowl. Toss with 1/2 the dressing to coat lightly. Season salad greens with more salt and pepper to taste. Transfer salad greens to a serving platter or individual plates, as desired.
- Arrange roasted pears, bacon and crumbled Roquefort on top of the salad and garnish with a few more chives, if desired. Drizzle with a the remaining salad dressing and serve.