One of my favorite ways to enjoy pears is the simplest, fresh off the tree with a handful of walnuts. Now, add crumbles of Gorgonzola and a drizzle of honey and you’ve got a healthy, slightly decadent snack. Or turn it into a delicious toasted walnut and pear salad.
Caramelizing the pears and the addition of cranberries and spring greens transforms our ingredients of pears, Gorgonzola and nuts into yet another sensational salad.
Caramelization is a chemical change that makes naturally occurring sugars in fruit, turn brown and very flavorful, when gently sautéed in oil (or butter). Exceptionally sweet fruit like figs, peaches, pineapples, and bananas will caramelize especially well. I have served this warm and fragrant special salad on a variety of occasions, including Thanksgiving, Christmas Brunch and New Year’s Day. ( It looks beautiful as part of a buffet). You might also enjoy Marsala Poached Pears, Almond and pear Torta.
- 2 Pears, ripe but firm, unpeeled (I used Bosc pears)
- 4 tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (Delicate), divided
- 4 tablespoons Sicilian white lemon balsamic vinegar, divided
- Rosemary and Lemon sea salt
- 6 cups fresh spring greens (or other lettuce)
- 1/2 cup toasted pecans
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup Gorgonzola cheese
- Cut the pears in half, lengthwise and remove the core.
- Using a sauté pan, place the pears core side down in the oil and cook until golden brown. Turn the pears over, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the white balsamic vinegar. Cover the pan. Cook until soft and caramelized.
- Using a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons of vinegar with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and rosemary sea salt. Toss the dressing with the salad greens. Transfer the greens to a platter. Carefully arrange each pear half on the greens.
- Scatter the pecans, and cranberries over the salad. Crumble the gorgonzola over all.