On cold winter days in December a salad isn't my go-to. I'm craving something cozy and warm. But I can definitely make an exception for this gourmet French poached pear salad. I simmered pears in red wine, honey, vanilla, and orange. Then I served the warm pears on beds of arugula with fresh figs and stilton blue cheese, and topped it with my scrumptious port wine vinaigrette.
This salad is a dream for entertaining. So much of the prep can be done ahead of time, then it's a cinch to throw together. Not to mention that it tastes ah~mazing.
How to Poach Pears
You are going to want to find some nice, ripe Bosc pears. Don't be deceived by their rough-looking exterior. They have juicy flesh with a spicy-sweet flavour and are currently in season.
Gently peel the pears while being careful to leave the stems attached. Slice the pears in half vertically, then use a melon baller to scoop out the core where the seeds are.
As for what kind of wine to use in this recipe, go for a nice, dry red wine. I recommend a Burgundy pinot noir. It's perfect to use for the vinaigrette in this recipe as well, AND for sipping on what's left - triple use!
Add the wine, water, honey, sugar, vanilla extract, ground black pepper, and piece of orange peel all into a large pot. Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce it down to a steady simmer. Add in the pears, insides facing upwards, and simmer for ten minutes.
Turn the pears over and simmer them for another ten minutes. They should be fork-tender at this point, but be careful if you test by poking because the marks will show. Remove the pot from the heat, and let the pears sit in the poaching syrup for twenty minutes. You can serve the pears warm now or chill them covered in the fridge for enjoying later.
For this recipe I created this beautiful port wine vinaigrette. It is tart, nutty, a little bit sweet, and soooo perfect on this salad. You can either make it ahead of time (it keeps in the fridge for up to a week) or make it now while the pears are poaching. Visit that post for the easy instructions on how to make it.
How to make Poached Pear Salad
Create a bed of arugula on your serving plates, and top them with pieces of cut fresh figs and large crumbles of Stilton - a delicious, English blue cheese. Place a half pear (warm or chilled) on top.
Drizzle generously with the port wine vinaigrette and serve immediately. It's time to enjoy the 'fruits' of your labour (terrible pun intended).
For another delicious salad featuring the French poaching method, check out my poached salmon salad with fresh strawberry vinaigrette recipe. The salmon comes out ridiculously tender. You won't be disappointed!Print
These delicious, gourmet French red wine poached pears are complimented perfectly by my flavourful port wine vinaigrette, fresh figs, and blue cheese. This is the winter salad to impress with this holiday season.
2 Bosc pears
1 ½ cup (355 ml) dry red wine (I use a Burgundy pinot noir)
½ cup (118 ml) water
¼ cup (60 ml) honey
¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
large piece of orange peel
⅛ tsp ground black pepper
fresh figs, cut into pieces
Stilton (English blue cheese)
port wine vinaigrette (visit my post for the recipe)
optional: candied walnuts
Gently peel the pears leaving the stems intact. Slice them in half vertically, then scoop out the seeded core area with a melon baller.
Add wine, water, honey, sugar, vanilla extract, pepper, and orange peel into a large pot. Bring to a boil then reduce it to a steady simmer.
Add in pears, insides facing upwards, and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn the pears over and simmer for another 10 minutes. They should be fork-tender. Remove the pot from the heat and let pears sit in poaching syrup for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare my port wine vinaigrette recipe (takes 15 minutes).
Create a bed of arugula on serving plates and top with fig pieces and large crumbles of Stilton. Place a half pear (warm or chilled*) on top. Drizzle generously with the port wine vinaigrette. Serve immediately.
*You can serve the pears warm straight out of the poaching syrup, or, if you plan to prepare this dish ahead of time, remove them from the syrup and store them covered in the fridge until later.
Keywords: poached pear salad