Pear Salad with Spicy Candied Walnuts
Source: JS Online
NOTE: Like most recipes I use this recipe as a guideline and adapt it to suit my own taste. This recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of salt in the dressing. This is way to much salt. Please adjust to suit your own taste.
1/2 cup candied spiced walnuts (see recipe)
1 cup Zinfandel dressing (see recipe)
1/2 cup high-quality blue cheese, crumbled
1/2 pound assorted baby greens (arugula, baby frisee, baby lolla rossa) or mesclun mix
Make candied spiced walnuts and Zinfandel dressing first. After the pears have been
poached, cut them into quarters and slice each quarter into four slices. Fan the slices,
forming a half moon, and place in the center of a plate. Toss the greens with enough of
the dressing to coat the greens. Using too much will wilt the greens. Place the tossed
greens in the crescent of the pear. Sprinkle with crumbled cheese and candied walnuts.
Drizzle some of the remaining dressing around the perimeter of the greens.
This salad could also be presented family-style with all the ingredients simply tossed
together in a bowl and served on a platter. Makes 8 servings.
1 1/2 cups Zinfandel (divided)
1/2 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick, about 3 inches long
20 turns fresh ground pepper (about 1 teaspoon)
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 Anjou pears, peeled and cored
2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1/2 cup canola oil
Combine 3/4 cup Zinfandel, sugar, cinnamon stick, pepper and salt in a small pan and
bring to a simmer. Simmer very slowly until the liquid thickens and becomes similar to a
syrup. This will take 1 to 11/2 hours. If mixture reduces too fast, it will become bitter.
Dressing can be done in advance to this point, then refrigerated. When ready to complete, add pears and return syrup to a simmer. Spoon liquid over them or turn them frequently. Pears are done when they are soft and easily pierced with a fork, about 45 minutes.
Remove pears from the syrup and store in a covered container. Reserve the poaching
liquid to finish the vinaigrette. Combine remaining 3/4 cup wine and reserved Zinfandel syrup and bring to a simmer. Reduce mixture by two-thirds. You should end up with about one-third cup. It should be thick and syrupy. Transfer mixture into a stainless steel bowl and whisk in mustard and vinegar. While continuously whisking, very slowly stream in canola oil. If this step is done too fast, the oil will not emulsify. Transfer to a covered container and refrigerate.
Spicy candied walnuts
1 cup sugar (divided)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup walnut halves
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Combine 1/2 cup sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a slow boil. Reduce to
a simmer and add walnuts.
Mix spices and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a medium stainless steel bowl. When walnuts
have begun to soften, after about 8 minutes, strain them out of the liquid and transfer
them immediately to the spice mixture. Shake them around in the bowl until they have
been completely covered with the mix. Sift them out of the spice blend, saving the spices
for making this dish again or for another use. Transfer nuts to an airtight container, but do