Roquefort Pear or Apple Salad

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Roquefort Pear or Apple Salad - This is the best tossed salad I've ever eaten and I make it all the time. It's sweet and tangy from the fruit, sharp and salty from the blue cheese, and delightfully crunchy from the caramelized pecans. The easy vinaigrette pulls it all together and can be kept on hand for healthy, satisfying salads at a moment's notice. The recipe is a go-to on busy weeknights yet 100% worthy of a holiday meal.

This tried-and-true tossed salad offers a palate-pleasing balance of flavors and textures, and the easy dressing pulls it all together. Pair it with a simple protein for a complete meal that is sure to satisfy.

 

 

 

This may just be my all-time favorite tossed salad. I’ve been whipping up brimming bowlfuls of it for years, so it’s a bit of a mystery why it’s taken me this long to share!

The colorful salad is sweet and tangy from the fruit, sharp and salty from the blue cheese, and delightfully crunchy from the caramelized pecans. The easy vinaigrette pulls it all together and can be kept on hand for healthy, satisfying salads at a moment’s notice.

The recipe is a go-to on busy weeknights - I frequently serve a generous helping alongside a simple protein like chicken or salmon. That’s it.  It’s truly all you need for a quick but satisfying dinner.

And though this salad can make an otherwise basic weeknight meal shine, it’s undeniably well-suited to entertaining and holiday meals. Amidst the heavier dishes that often appear at festive occasions, this crisp salad provides healthy balance with no shortage of flavor.

On that note, I find guests typically appreciate being able to balance the more decadent items on their plate with something wholesome but delicious in its own right. I generally prepare large quantities of salad when entertaining, and they are frequently the first bowls to be scraped clean.

Roquefort Pear or Apple Salad - This is the best tossed salad I've ever eaten and I make it all the time. It's sweet and tangy from the fruit, sharp and salty from the blue cheese, and delightfully crunchy from the caramelized pecans. The easy vinaigrette pulls it all together and can be kept on hand for healthy, satisfying salads at a moment's notice. The recipe is a go-to on busy weeknights yet 100% worthy of a holiday meal.

 

The following measurements serve as a good ratio of chunky add-ins to leafy lettuce and provide a helpful framework the first few times you prepare the salad. After that, you’ll find it’s easy to whip up without measuring and you can adjust the various ingredients to taste or simply eyeball based on the number of servings desired.

If possible, prepare the dressing several hours or even a day in advance as the flavors will improve over time.

Bon Appétit!

 

Spiced Pecans - perfect for salads, snacking and holiday gift giving

Tasty candied pecans can often be found at the grocery store, but I’ve offered a speedy, small batch recipe for candied pecans or walnuts in the recipe notes. Optionally, the Spiced Pecan recipe pictured above is a favorite for salads, snacking and holiday gift giving.

Roquefort Pear or Apple Salad - This is the best tossed salad I've ever eaten and I make it all the time. It's sweet and tangy from the fruit, sharp and salty from the blue cheese, and delightfully crunchy from the caramelized pecans. The easy vinaigrette pulls it all together and can be kept on hand for healthy, satisfying salads at a moment's notice. The recipe is a go-to on busy weeknights yet 100% worthy of a holiday meal.

 

Helpful hint: Would you like to prepare the salad a few hours in advance but worry about the apple or pear and avocado browning? Simply chop these items and place them on the bottom of the salad bowl, and then toss them with a tablespoon or two of the vinaigrette to evenly coat. Top with the lettuce and all of the remaining ingredients except the nuts. Do not toss. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. When ready to serve, add the nuts (adding them now will ensure they are crunchy) and drizzle with just enough vinaigrette to lightly coat the greens. (You can always add more but can’t take away-and there’s already some on the bottom of the bowl.) Toss and enjoy!

 

Roquefort Pear or Apple Salad
Yield: 4-6 servings
This family favorite salad is sweet and tangy from the fruit, sharp and salty from the blue cheese, and delightfully crunchy from the caramelized pecans. The easy vinaigrette pulls it all together and can be kept on hand for healthy, satisfying salads at a moment's notice.
For the salad:
  • 5-6 ounces (about 5-6 cups) mixed greens or baby spinach
  • 1 large apple or pear, cored and chopped
  • ½ cup (2 ounces) Roquefort or blue cheese of choice, crumbled
  • ½ an avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
  • ¼ of a small red onion, thinly sliced (may substitute 2-3 thinly sliced green onions)
  • ⅓-½ cup candied pecans (store-bought or homemade: I like this Spiced Pecan recipe or the quick option below)
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries
For the vinaigrette:
  • ⅓ cup (74 grams) olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) red wine vinegar*
  • 1½ teaspoons white sugar*
  • 1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed and minced (I omit when in a hurry)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt and several grinds of the pepper mill
Instructions:

For the vinaigrette: add the oil, vinegar, sugar, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper to a jar, and shake well to emulsify. Prep ahead tip: The dressing may be made several days in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature and shake well before using.

To a large salad bowl, add the lettuce, pear or apple, blue cheese, avocado, onions, pecans and cranberries. Drizzle the dressing over salad - start with ¼ to ⅓ cup or so - and toss to evenly coat the leaves. Add more to taste, and refrigerate leftover dressing for future use.

Notes:

I have substituted apple cider vinegar for the red wine vinegar and maple syrup for the sugar with excellent results. My personal favorite by a smidge is the red wine vinegar; it’s difficult to discern a difference between the sugar and maple syrup.

QUICK CANDIED WALNUTS OR PECANS:
1 tablespoon (15g) butter
¼ cup (50g) light brown sugar
1 cup (100g) walnut halves or whole pecans (raw)
⅛ teaspoon kosher salt

Line a baking tray with parchment paper. (You’ll need this when it’s time to cool the nuts.) Melt the butter and sugar together in a small skillet over low heat. Add the nuts and the salt. Stir constantly until the mixture starts to bubble and thicken, about 1 minute. Continue to stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. (Quick tip: Resist the urge to sneak a bite; the sugar is very hot and you could burn your tongue.) Spread the nuts out on the lined tray. The glaze will set as the nuts cool.

The Fountain Avenue Kitchen https://fountainavenuekitchen.com/

 

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