Whether you choose to serve this salad like this:
|With pomegranate seeds: light and fresh - perfect for a brunch|
Or like this:
|Dried cranberries and balsamic vinegar reduction give the salad a richer flavor and elegant presentation - great way to start or end a dinner party.|
I guarantee you will hear a lot of happy sounds coming from the dinner table.
So, before I go on with the recipe, I want to say that this is one of my favorite salads - every bite is sweet, fresh, juicy, crunchy, and tangy. Really worth trying.
I got the idea for this recipe during one of my recent visits to Brazil. I was reading a local magazine when I saw the picture of a pear, celery and Parmesan cheese salad. The thought of that combination of flavors and textures sounded so refreshing to me, I had to try it. I did not keep that magazine so, back in Minnesota, I tried to replicate it. After lots of testing I came up with these two versions that I am about to share with you (don't worry, it is just 1 salad recipe with different toppings).
Pear, Celery and Blue Cheese Salad
2 pears (I use 1 Comice and 1 Bosc), chilled and thinly sliced
4 stalks of celery heart, thinly sliced
1/4 cup of dried cranberries or fresh pomegranate seeds
5 large basil leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon of lemon zest
1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of a light extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon of honey
1 generous pinch of salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 cups of balsamic vinegar (for balsamic reduction)
Mild blue cheese, such as Gorgonzola Dolce or a triple cream blue, for topping. I buy a chunk of good quality blue cheese and cut it into pieces, or crumble it. You can save the rest of the cheese for later.
1- Start by making the balsamic vinegar reduction:
Place the balsamic vinegar into a small heavy bottomed sauce pan and bring it to a simmer over medium-low heat until it has reduced by half and it has a light syrup consistency (about 25 minutes). Keep in mind that the reduction continues to thicken as it cools. I usually make lots of this reduction and keep it around for when I need it.
2- For the salad dressing: whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice and zest, honey, salt, and pepper and set aside.
3. Place sliced pears, sliced celery, and chopped basil into a large bowl.
4- Add the dressing to the pears mixture and gently toss it all together.
5- Drizzle 4 plates with balsamic reduction. Divide the salad among the plates.
6- Top the salad with cranberries OR pomegranate, and the blue cheese. Serve.
|Get yourself a cute daughter with red painted nails to squeeze your lemon!!|
|Use a flavorful but light olive oil. This one was a gift from some special friends!|
And this is what you have if you do use the balsamic reduction and the