Eat and Love – Pear Salad with blue cheese


This Pear Salad is a stellar combination of flavours reminiscent of your favourite cheeseboard – juicy pear with piquant pops of blue cheese, toasty walnuts and a Honey Mustard Dressing. Peppery rocket (arugula) is an ideal refreshing contrast to use as the leafy base.

Excellent salad option for a starter, or as a stylish side salad!

Pear Salad with Blue Cheese and Rocket Arugula in a serving bowl, ready to be eaten

Pear Salad with Blue Cheese

This is a salad that’s all about natural pairings, things we *always* see on cheeseboards because they work so well together but you may not think about putting in a salad.

✓ Fruit and blue cheese

✓ Fruit and honey

✓ Fruit and nuts

✓ Cheese, honey and nuts (have I covered all combos there? 😂)

Oh, and leafy greens. The thing that transforms this cheese board into a salad!

It’s a delicious way to use pears when they’re in season for something other than dessert (such as this Pear Pistachio Tart or this Pear Blue Cheese Slice). And one that blue cheese lovers get excited about! 🙋🏻‍♀️

Fork picking up Pear Salad with Blue Cheese and Rocket Arugula

What goes in Pear Salad with Blue Cheese

Here’s what goes into this Pear Salad:

Ingredients in Pear Salad with Blue Cheese and Rocket Arugula

Pears

I actually use 1 1/2 pears which for me is a nice amount for a whole container of rocket/arugula (standard size 120g / 4oz which is around 5 packed cups). If you want a more pear forward salad, feel free to use more pears, it’s really up to you.

Best type of pears – Whatever you want, as long as they’re ripe. I used Beurré Bosc pears (cinnamon coloured skin) which are fairly common and good value here in Australia when in season. Packham, Josephine, Corella Pears, even nashi pears – they all work.

Close up of pear slices for Pear Salad with Blue Cheese and Rocket Arugula
Sliced Beurré Bosc pears for this Pear Salad.

Blue Cheese

Best to use one that is slightly creamy but still firm enough to be crumbled, like pictured. As a key ingredient in this salad, the better the cheese, the better the dish! Here are my favourites:

  1. Roquefort – Made from sheep’s milk, it’s a well known prestigious French cheese that’s creamy enough to be spreadable but firm enough to crumble. This is my favourite to use for most blue cheese salads. Other French blues I like to use: St Agur French Blue Cheese, Fourme d’Ambert. These are sold at most Harris Farms and some Woolies these days (Australia).

  2. Gorgonzola – An Italian blue that ranges in texture based on variety, from ultra creamy to more crumbly. I like Picante (90 days aged, creamier, most rounded flavour), followed by the better value Dolce (60 days aged, excellent value for money).

  3. British Stilton – Slightly sharper than the above two, this is not for the faint hearted! Try to get an aged one for a smoother flavour.

More options: Danish blue is also a good option for a better value option. And for those who are new to blue cheese, Blue Castello is a good one to start with (the most mild, and good value).

Avoid the blue cheese that is like brie (ie too creamy to crumble on salad) or really firm crumbly ones like blue cheddar which are too crumbly so they don’t stick to the salad (they just fall to bottom of bowl).

Rocket (arugula)

I think this peppery lettuce is ideal for this salad because the refreshing flavour contrasts nicely with all the other flavours going on. A more neutral leafy green, like baby spinach, wouldn’t really bring anything to this dish.

Walnuts

Walnuts is a classic choice for a blue cheese salad. Though actually, other nuts will work just as well (in my opinion), such as: almonds, pecans, hazelnuts. I wouldn’t use peanuts (bit odd, I think?), macadamia nuts (too rich with blue cheese).


Honey Mustard Dressing for Pear Salad

Honey Mustard Dressing for Pear Salad with Blue Cheese and Rocket Arugula

I opted for a Honey Mustard Dressing here because honey with pears, walnuts and cheese is a classic pairing. Sweet, savoury, nutty, creamy, juicy – it pushes all the right buttons!

  • Honey – For the honey flavour and to thicken the dressing.

  • Dijon mustard – Also to help thicken the dressing as well as adding a touch of tang and flavour.

  • Cider vinegar – The tang in the dressing. Any mild(ish) vinegar will work in its place – white wine vinegar, champagne or sherry vinegar,

  • Extra virgin olive oil (or ordinary olive oil) – The better the oil, the better the dressing!

Drizzling Honey Mustard Dressing over Pear Salad with Blue Cheese and Rocket Arugula

What to serve with Pear Salad

As a starter

This is a salad that’s ideal for serving as a starter. Never underestimate the power of a good salad as a starter! If it’s interesting enough and has a bit of wow factor, it sets a great tone for the rest of the meal.

Meal

As a meal, serve it with a side of home-made bread if you would like to fill it out a bit:

As a side salad

As a side salad, because the blue cheese makes it quite rich (even though each serving only as a little crumble), opt to serve it with something that doesn’t have an overwhelmingly strong sauce. Otherwise, you’ll just have too many flavours competing on your plate – and we want this salad to shine!

Here are some suggestions:

Enjoy! – Nagi x

PS No video today as it’s a “easy salad day” where I’m sharing 3 fairly straight forward recipes (this salad, Roasted Large Mushrooms with Green Onion Thyme Butter and Chargrill Charlie’s Copycat Japanese Slaw). But if you really want a video for this one, just leave a comment below and I’ll do it when I get a chance!

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Close up photo of Pear Salad with Blue Cheese and Rocket Arugula

Pear Salad with Blue Cheese and Rocket

Servings5 – 6 as a side

Tap or hover to scale

Classic combination of ingredients, cheeseboard favourites transformed in salad form with the addition of pepper rocket lettuce!Ideal to serve as a starter, light lunch or as a side for a main that’s not too rich.We go light on the dressing here because the blue cheese and juice from the pears act as part of the dressing. See Note 1 for my recommende blue cheeses.

Instructions

  • Dressing: Shake Dressing in a jar.

  • Pears: Halve then scoop out core. Place cut face down and slice into 3mm / 0.12″ slices. (Note 2)

  • Walnuts: Spread on tray and toast in a 180°C/350°F oven for 8 minutes or until they smell nutty. Leave some whole, break some in half with hands.

  • Dress rocket: In a large bowl, toss rocket with 2 tbsp Dressing.

  • Assemble: Pile 1/3 rocket on a platter. Scatter with 1/3 pears, 1/3 walnuts, 1/3 blue cheese crumbled into small chunks. Repeat twice more. Drizzle with remaining Dressing just before serving.

Recipe Notes:

1. Blue cheese – Look for a blue that is creamy so it sticks to the salad but still firm enough to crumble into chunks with your fingers (though your fingers will be smeared with blue cheese!). Blue brie is too creamy, cheddar is too hard – they just ends up at bottom of bowl.
My favourite (in order): French Roquefort (more French I like: St Agur, Fourme d’Ambert), Gorgonzola Picante, Gorgonzola Dolce, good British Stilton. For a good value option, opt for a Danish. If you’re blue cheese shy, Blue Castello is a safe bet – very mild.
Generally with cheese, you get what you pay for. Aged cheeses tend to have a more rounded, mellow flavour than younger cheese.
2. Slicing pears – The slices should not be paper thin, or even so thin they completely “flop”. They should have a slight bend when picked up with a fork, as pictured in post. But they should not be so thick that they crack when you stab with a fork!
Amount to use: 1 1/2 pears is the perfect amount to me for the specified amount of rocket. If you want a more pear forward salad, use more.
Stop pears browning: If not assembling in 30 min, drizzle lightly with lemon juice to stop them from going brown.

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 266cal (13%)Carbohydrates: 9g (3%)Protein: 9g (18%)Fat: 23g (35%)Saturated Fat: 6g (38%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 10gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 18mg (6%)Sodium: 509mg (22%)Potassium: 241mg (7%)Fiber: 2g (8%)Sugar: 6g (7%)Vitamin A: 760IU (15%)Vitamin C: 4mg (5%)Calcium: 186mg (19%)Iron: 1mg (6%)

Life of Dozer

Dozer, the warm glow of sunset is flattering on you! If only your snout wasn’t covered in slobber splatters and you didn’t have a speck of eye snot on your cheek…… 😝





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