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Roasted Pear Gorgonzola Salad

Around here, we love our pears.  Hubby eats them super ripe, I eat them crunchy, and the kids just eat them.   The leafy greens?  Still working on getting the young’uns to chow down on arugula, but for today I’m happy that they devour their pears!  With the beautiful, warm weather here in June, I wanted to make a light and refreshing salad that we could enjoy Al fresco.  Thus, the Roasted Pear Gorgonzola Salad makes its well-timed appearance.

Juicy, sweet, roasted pears atop baby greens and arugula
Savory Gorgonzola, dried cranberries, and pecans smothered in a light, lemony dressing
The saltiness of Gorgonzola, sweetness of dried cranberries, and the crunch of toasted pecans marry gorgeously under a lemony sweet dressing.

It sounds like work to roast pears, but it is quite simple.  The individual flavors of this salad go so well together, it is as if they were meant to meet.  Definitely Gourmet Dinner Club worthy.

RECIPE (Serves 6)

1/2 cup apple cider
3 TB very sweet dessert wine, such as Port or Framboise
1/3 cup brown sugar, tightly packed
3 TB extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 oz crumbled Gorgonzola (or Roquefort works well, too)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup toasted and chopped pecans
3 semi-ripe pears
1 pkg baby greens
1 pkg arugula
fresh cracked pepper


For the Basting Sauce:  Combine apple cider, dessert wine, and brown sugar in a bowl until sugar is dissolved.  Set aside.  Can be made up to 1-2 hours ahead of time.

For the Dressing: Combine olive oil, lemon juice, and 1/2 cup of the basting sauce.  Set aside at room temp.

Peel and slice pears in half lengthwise.  Carefully remove core and seeds from pears, leaving a rounded well for filling later.  Trim away a tiny slice from bottom of each pear so they sit flat on roasting pan.  Spoon some basting sauce over each pear, and bake until tender (approx. 30 min).  Baste pears with sauce a couple more times while baking.

Prepare individual plates by dividing the baby greens mixed with arugula.  When pears are partly cool, place on top of the greens.  Fill each pear with a mixture of crumbled Gorgonzola, dried cranberries, and pecans.  Sprinkle remaining mixture over rest of the salad.  Generously drizzle lemon dressing on top of pears and greens.  Sprinkle with cracked pepper and enjoy!

Source:  Chew Out Loud, adapted from Barefoot Contessa

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