How To Make a Poached Pear Salad

Here’s how to make a delicious poached pear salad for four people, featuring sweet potato, radicchio, frisée lettuce, blue cheese, toasted pepitas, and a honey Dijon vinaigrette. The recipe is one that we had to work out from the menu and how it arrived where is was served at the Inn in Cape Kiwanda. It’s never straightforward to recreate these types of recipes but I think they have nailed this this type of salad.

Ingredients:

  • 4 ripe pears
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 small head of radicchio
  • 1 small bunch of frisée lettuce
  • 100 grams of blue cheese (crumbled)
  • ¼ cup of toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • For the Honey Dijon Vinaigrette:
    • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    • 1 tablespoon honey
    • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. Begin by poaching the pears: Peel the pears and leave the stems intact for an elegant presentation. In a pot, combine enough water to cover the pears, along with ½ cup of sugar and any desired flavorings such as cinnamon sticks, vanilla bean, or citrus zest. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer, add the pears, and cook for about 15-20 minutes until they are tender. Once done, remove the pears from the liquid and set them aside to cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Peel the sweet potato and cut it into small cubes. Toss the cubes in olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and spread them on a baking sheet. Roast the sweet potato in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until tender and slightly caramelized. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
  3. Wash and dry the radicchio and frisée lettuce. Tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces and place them in a large salad bowl.
  4. Prepare the Honey Dijon Vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, salt, and pepper until well combined.
  5. Assemble the salad: Slice the cooled poached pears into thin wedges. Add the roasted sweet potato cubes, pear slices, crumbled blue cheese, and toasted pepitas to the salad bowl with the radicchio and frisée lettuce.
  6. Drizzle the Honey Dijon Vinaigrette over the salad and toss gently to coat all the ingredients evenly.
  7. Serve the poached pear salad immediately and enjoy!

This poached pear salad combines a variety of flavors and textures, with the sweetness of the pears complementing the bitterness of radicchio, the crispness of frisée lettuce, the creaminess of blue cheese, and the crunch of toasted pepitas. The Honey Dijon Vinaigrette adds a tangy and slightly sweet dressing that ties all the elements together. It’s a delightful and satisfying salad that offers a balance of flavors and makes for an impressive presentation.

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