Last week, I gave you a Valentine’s Day appetizer and entrée; and because we both know that crostini and pasta alone do not a Valentine’s dinner make, I figured the most sensible thing to do would be to give you some recipes to complete the meal.
So today I’m thinking about balance. Perhaps something green and leafy? Something that will make you feel better about snarfing down double carbohydrates in one meal. Something that can typically be a bit mundane and unimaginative…
If you haven’t guessed by my not so subtle hints (or pictures), I’m speaking of the ever so present salad.
But my friends, this salad is no ordinary salad; this salad is the polar opposite of most salads. This salad supersedes any salad I’ve had in the last six months – except for my beloved seared ahi tuna salad – nothing beats that.
While this dish isn’t a hard one to create, it does require a little bit of prep work before assembly, absurdly easy prep work, but prep work nonetheless.
We first start with firm, slightly under ripe Bosc pears that are gently poached in a little water, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla bean. After the pears are cooked through and soft to the touch, they cool in their own liquid to soak up as much syrup as possible. They’re then halved, cored, and stored until needed.
The hard part is complete. Easy right?
Next is assembly. Mixed greens are thrown on to a large serving platter and tossed with a quick and easy balsamic vinaigrette. The pears we’ve so lovingly poached are artfully draped over the top and the whole salad is dotted with decadent triple crème brie cheese and toasted walnuts.
That’s it, course number two is finished. Easy, elegant, and totally worthy of Valentine’s Day.
Stayed tuned tomorrow for the most decadent, chocolaty cookies, I’ve ever made – or eaten for that matter.
- Poached Pears:
- 1 quart water
- 1 cup sugar
- Seeds of one vanilla bean
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 pears, peeled
- Mixed Greens
- Triple Crème Brie Cheese, cut in bit size pieces
- ¼ cup walnuts, toasted
- Balsamic Vinaigrette:
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Baguette for serving
- To Make Poached Pears: Bring water sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and pears to a roiling boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until pears are tender, about 35 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool in mixture for 1 hour. Can be made the day before, just store in sugar syrup. Cut pears in half lengthwise and remove core and seeds. Slice pears lengthwise, keeping them together.
- Toss greens with vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper if necessary.
- Place pear half on top of greens, arranging in a fan. Sprinkle with a few walnuts and brie cheese. Serve with a crusty French baguette.