Years ago, when The Goddess was a mere imp, she found a recipe for pears with bleu cheese, all dressed up with a vinaigrette. It was heavenly. This plays off that delicious memory. I remember thinking that pears and vinaigrette was such an odd combination. But, I was young and foolish. I had only eaten pears as fruit or in dessert. It never occurred to me that they could be eaten is such a deliciously savory manner. Thank goodness I checked the back of that salad dressing package. I’ve developed a taste for arugula recently. I’ve always enjoyed arugula as part of a greens mixture, but now, I’m liking them on their own, too.
The bleu cheese vinaigrette is thickened both with the oil and the bleu cheese. If you like a smoother dressing, purée the cheese completely, but I like a little puréed into the dressing and some left whole. I used about 3/4 cup crumbled bleu cheese. By the way, feel free to use this vinaigrette with apples instead of pears. If you like bleu cheese, this is delicious on any salad and it keeps well, too.
These are more or less the proportions I used for the salad. Adjust as you wish, depending on how much you want to make and what flavors you want to be at the forefront. The amounts for the vinaigrette, however, are accurate. I have given you some optional amounts. It’s pretty simple. Just put all the vinaigrette ingredients in a blender container and whirl it up. Then, remove the center from the lid, pour the oils in a thin stream. The mixture will be slightly thickened, but will thicken more as it chills. I add part of the bleu cheese, whirl it up well, then I add the remainder. Pour into a jar, cover and chill. I like to make this early in the day, or the day before I plan to use it.
For the salad, combine everything but the arugula; toss. Add the arugula and some of the dressing; toss until coated. Serve, sprinkled with some almonds.
And with Mother’s Day around the corner, this can be adapted using asparagus, instead of, or with, the pears. And toasted pecans are always good, sprinkled with abandon, on pretty much anything.
Arugula-Pear Salad with Bleu Cheese Vinaigrette
- 1 large or 2 smaller pears, unpeeled and sliced
- 1 small Persian cucumber, unpeeled and thinly sliced
- 2-3 tablespoons thinly sliced red onion
- 3 cups arugula (or chopped Romaine)
- 3 tablespoons toasted pecans or sugared almonds
- 2-3 pinches kosher salt
- Bleu-Cheese Vinaigrette:
- 1/3 cup white vinegar or champagne vinegar
- 1/8 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1-2 tablespoons sugar or honey
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic or 1 teaspoon garlic granules
- 2-3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (taste before adding)
- 1/2 teaspoons onion granules
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup crumbled bleu cheese (see NOTE)
Place everything but the oils and bleu cheese in a blender container. Whirl the mixture up, until the peppercorns are more or less completely ground, about 1 minute. Open the center of the lid, and with the motor running, pour the oil in a thin, steady stream. Turn off the blender, add the crumbled bleu cheese and whirl for a few seconds. You’re not trying to purée it entirely. I like to leave a few small pieces. Pour into a container, cover and chill in the fridge. Keeps well for up to two weeks in the fridge. This is best made at least 8 hours ahead, to allow the flavors to meld.
NOTE: Add more bleu cheese, if you wish. It all depends on how strong the cheese is and how much bleu cheese flavor you want. You may need to add more salt, again, depending on how salty the cheese is. I like this vinaigrette on the sharp side, because the fruit adds sweetness.
Arugula-Pear Salad with Bleu Cheese Vinaigrette Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2020. All rights reserved.
I used sugared almonds sprinkled over the top of each serving. The Spicy Honey isn’t such a fan of pears, but he truly enjoyed this salad and licked the plate clean!