Winter Greens with Poached Pears, Toasted Pecans, Blue Cheese and Balsamic Vinaigrette is the perfect, elegant winter-inspired salad!
Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! I planned to get this posted before Christmas, but as we all know, things don’t always go as planned.
As it was, I only got about seven hours of sleep total in the days leading up to our heading up to visit our families in Wisconsin for Christmas. I’m sure you’ve all experienced waking up in the middle of the night then try to get back to sleep only to lie in bed thinking about everything you have to do. You then get more and more anxious so instead of thinking about everything you need to do, you just get up and do it.
In the end, I was grateful to the little inner clock or voice that woke me at obscene hours because everything I needed to get done would not have been done otherwise. By the time we got on the road, all I wanted to do was sit quietly, stare out the window and nap!
…..Which I did for only about five minutes!
Although I didn’t get this posted before Christmas, this wonderful winter-inspired salad is perfect throughout the winter. It would also make a stunning salad starter for a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner.
You could also roast the pears such as in this recipe for Winter Greens with Roasted Pears and Pecorino from Serious Eats.
This salad dressing is my “signature” balsamic vinaigrette. I make it for clients and two have even offered to help me bottle and market it! I hope you think it’s THAT good! Feel free to adjust ratios of vinegar to oil, honey, etc. to suit your taste.
Use any baby greens that have some sort of wintery green such as baby Swiss chard, kale, escarole, etc. These are often sold as “power greens.” If you don’t feel like going to the trouble of making the poached pears, fresh will also work.
The blue cheese and the buttery and slightly sweet pecans make the perfect topping!
Helpful Tools and Equipment to make Winter Greens with Poached Pears, Toasted Pecans, Blue Cheese and Balsamic Vinaigrette (Affiliate Links):
- BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE
- 1/3 cup good balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoon honey
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup pecan halves and pieces
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
- 8 cups mixed baby greens (with kale and Swiss chard)
- 2 red wine poached pears from this recipe, cut into quarters
- 1 cup pecan halves and pieces
- BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE: Whisk together vinaigrette ingredients. Adjust with honey, salt and pepper as desired. Set aside.
- PECANS: Heat the butter in a small non-stick skillet over medium-low heat
- Add the pecans and the sugar and cook, stirring often until the pecans begin to brown slightly. (They can burn very quickly!)
- Transfer to a plate, spread out slightly (it's okay if they're touching) and let cool.
- SALAD: Gently toss baby greens with 1/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette.
- Divide greens evenly among 4 plates. top with pear wedges, blue cheese and pecans. Pass additional vinaigrette at the table.
Pears may also be roasted. Pears may be poached up to 2 days ahead of time.
Amount Per Serving Calories 1291 Total Fat 106g Saturated Fat 15g Trans Fat 1g Unsaturated Fat 84g Cholesterol 26mg Sodium 356mg Carbohydrates 64g Net Carbohydrates 0g Fiber 24g Sugar 30g Sugar Alcohols 0g Protein 17g