This pear gorgonzola and candied pecan salad, or some variation of it, has been around for ages. Usually it’s made with walnuts, but I swapped them out for pecans. Normally, the pears aren’t grilled, but I find that little touch of smokiness from the grill gives the pears great flavor and I’m all about tons of flavor. Why eat something boring when you can eat something super tasty?
Grilled Pear Gorgonzola and Candied Pecan Salad is one of our “go-to” weekend lunches. Sweet, salty, candied pecans are the perfect compliment to sharp gorgonzola. This salad is perfect anytime of the year, but we find ourselves eating a copious amount of salads when the signs are spring are all around us.
GRILLED PEAR GORGONZOLA and CANDIED PECAN SALAD:
Most people don’t think of grilling fruit. I encourage you to give it a go! When choosing pears for grilling, they should be just a smidge underripe. Pears that are too ripe will quickly turn to mush under the heat of the grill and that doesn’t make for an appetizing salad.
For years (17, to be exact), I lived in an apartment in NYC. I couldn’t have a grill in most of them, so when I finally got a beauty of a grill, you guessed it… I grilled All The Things. Including fruit. Everyone knows that grilled pineapple is delicious, that’s not exactly breaking news. But, grilled pears? Yep. That’s newsworthy. Well, it is in my world.
I usually make this with a crumbly gorgonzola, but I think next time I will use a creamy gorgonzola dolce. If you aren’t a fan of bleu cheese; goat cheese would also be nice here. Whatever you choose, just choose to make this salad. It’s so delicious, it might even convert the salad-haters in your house.
I WANT MORE SALADS!
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USED IN THIS RECIPE:
For The Salad
- 1/2 - 3/4 pound mixed baby greens
- 3 slightly under ripe pears, cored and sliced about 1/8" thick (I used Red Anjou)
- 1 cup pecans
- 4 ounces gorgonzola, crumbled
- 1 Tablespoon canola oil
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons melted butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tsp rosemary
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
For The Blood Orange Mint Vinaigrette
- 1/4 cup fresh blood orange juice
- 1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup oil, canola, extra-virgin, avocado, etc
- 2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Combine all ingredients, except oil in a small bowl (anything but aluminum) and whisk to combine. Slowly add oil in a steady stream while whisking. Give it a good whisk at the end and transfer to a glass jar to storage. Set aside.
- Preheat grill to medium high heat. Toss sliced pears with canola oil and half a teaspoon of salt. Place pears on grill and let them cook for 2 - 3 minutes. Just long enough to mark. Flip and mark on the second side. Remove and chill in fridge immediately to stop them from cooking further.
Candy the Pecans
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine melted butter, brown sugar, cayenne, rosemary and half a teaspoon of salt in a bowl. Set aside. Toast pecans for 5 - 8 minutes, until fragrant. Remove from oven and toss into bowl of flavored butter. Toss vigorously while hot (you'll hear sizzling), then lay out on a plate to cool.
- Place grilled pears, candied pecans and crumbled cheese on top of greens and dress with blood orange mint vinaigrette, or your favorite dressing.
The "magic" ratio for vinaigrettes is 3:1, as long as you are close to this, your vinaigrette will be fine. It's isn't an exact science, so taste it with a piece of lettuce to determine how your salad will taste with your dressing.