Gay Cook’s pear and Roquefort salad

Makes 4-5 servings

Pear and Roquefort are a great combination – the sweetness of the pear contrasts wonderfully with the piquant cheese.

  • 3-12 red or green lettuce leaves, washed, drained
  • 3 firm ripe medium-sized pears, Bartlett or Anjou
  • 1/2 c. (125 ml) red wine or cranberry juice
  • 3 green onions, finely sliced (include tender green parts)
  • 3 oz (90 gm) roquefort cheese, crumbled
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 3 Tbsp (45 ml) walnut or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp (25 ml) white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/3 c. (75 ml) tasted walnut pieces

Cut away the thick lettuce stems. Place the leaves between paper towels and chill

Halve the pears, peel and core, using a melon baller or spoon. In a saucepan, bring the wine or juice to a simmer. Add the pears, cut side down; they should be just covered with juice. Simmer for 8-10 minutes or until tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. Remove the pears and cool on a plate, core side up; reserve juice for another use.

In a small bowl mix the onions, cheese and pepper with a fork. Using a teaspoon, form the mixture into small balls and place a ball in the core of each pear.

Make the vinaigrette by combining the oil, wine vinegar and salt

To assemble the salad, place 1 or 2 lettuce leaves, depending on their size on individual salad plates inside the frame of the plate; this shows off the salad as a frame does a picture. Place a pear half on the lettuce. Dribble with vinaigrette dressing and garnish with walnuts

Note: To toast walnuts heat them in a small, dry skillet over medium-high heat, shaking the pan often until the aroma rises. Reserve.

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