Special occasion meals call for special salads, but special doesn’t have to mean time-consuming. This elegant salad will “pear” nicely with most any entrée whether you’re preparing a memorable meal for your valentine, hosting an Easter gathering with family, or celebrating the first day of spring.
Roasted Pear and Goat Cheese Salad
1 cup peanuts, finely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 4-ounce log of goat cheese
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 firm, ripe pears, halved lengthwise and cored
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon peanut oil
Mixed baby salad greens (mesclun)
Heat oven to 400°F. Place chopped peanuts in shallow dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste. Roll goat cheese log in peanuts to evenly coat. Refrigerate until firm then slice into rounds.
Place pears in baking dish. Pour melted butter over pears, turning to coat both sides then place pears cut side down. Roast until tender; 25 minutes.
Arrange pears cut side up in baking dish and place rounds of peanut-crusted goat cheese in the scooped centers. Continue roasting until cheese is soft and melted; 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together shallots, mustard and vinegar. Add olive oil and peanut oil in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified; season with salt and pepper, if desired.
Just before serving, toss salad greens with dressing and top each individual salad with a warm roasted pear topped with melted goat cheese.
Written By Babette Stenuis Stolz, Photo by Molly Hauxwell Currier