100th post and second poached pear recipe
Before we get to the second poached pear recipe – a momentous occasion – for me, at least. This is my 100th post, never imagined I’d get here when I began my blog back in August! Oh Happy Day! OK, enough self congratulatory for now and on to the work at hand… savory poached pears…
Pears were poached in a sweet liquid and used for dessert in yesterday’s post. Today, these wine poached pears with be used in a savory salad. The flesh takes on a gorgeous deep red color.
Walnut oil is used for the vinaigrette, but olive oil can be substituted. Nut oils should always be stored in the refrigerator. Just like the nuts they come from, the oils goes rancid quickly at room temperature.
The “seeds” of a fresh pomegranate are called arils and they should be showing up in markets since it is pomegranate season, take advantage and purchase them now, the season is short. The good news – arils can be frozen. To freeze, spread arils in a single layer on a wax paper lined baking sheet. Place in freezer for about two hours. Transfer frozen arils to a labeled and dated zip-lock bag. You can easily remove the amount you need when desired and return the rest quickly to the freezer. They will keep for about 6 months.
This salad is beautiful for any of the upcoming holidays and the poaching liquid can be saved for an upcoming Thanksgiving recipe for Pearl Onions and Wild Mushrooms in Red Wine Sauce, which will be posted later this week.*
Zinfandel-Pom Poached Pear, Blue Cheese, and Walnut Salad
2 cups red Zinfandel wine
1 cup pomegranate juice
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 Bosc or Anjou pears, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cored (use a mellon baller)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Pinch of sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup walnut oil
2 cup mixed greens and/or baby spinach
1/2 cup Roquefort cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup fresh pomegranate arils (seeds)
1/2 cup toasted walnut halves
Honey, for drizzling
Pour wine, pomegranate juice, and pepper into a saucepan just large enough to hold pear halves snuggly. Place pear halves in pan, cut side up. Bring to a boil, immediately reduce heat to a low simmer.
Poach pears for 15 to 20 minutes until soft. (The exact amount of poaching time will depend on the ripeness of the pears, so test by poking with the tip of a paring knife periodically.) Use tongs to gently turn over pear halves, cut side down. Remove from heat and allow the pears to cool completely in the liquid. When cool, remove pear halves to a plate and reserve poaching liquid for another use if desired (*there will be about 1 1/2 cups liquid remaining, pour into jar, cover and refrigerate).
While pears are cooling make vinaigrette; in a small bowl whisk vinegar, mustard, and sugar together to blend, slowing pour walnut oil into bowl while whisking until emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
When pears are cool and you are ready to serve; toss greens with vinaigrette and mound on each salad plate, place a pear half next to salad greens, fill each pear hole with crumbled blue cheese and sprinkle pomegranate arils and toasted walnuts on top of pear and around the plate. Drizzle each plate lightly with honey.