2 Pears (makes 8 portions) poached in simple syrup
Candied pecans (4 pecans per plate or person)
1 bag baby arugula
6 each Belgian endive (I prefer white, but the red is also good)
Mustard vinaigrette, recipe below or look for an oil and vinegar base, not balsamic or mayonnaise based.
Blue cheese (I like Pt. Reyes or Roquefort, but any type will do)
You can purchase these at WF, TJ and on Amazon
Small pot or pan
Heat-resistant utensil for removing and spreading the candied nuts (I use a heat resistant rubber spatula)
A non-stick baking pan or have aluminum foil, wax or parchment
Spray release- (I like coconut)
1 cup of raw pecans
1 cup of sugar
1-2 Tablespoons of water
CAUTION-The process of reducing the sugar into caramel brings its temperature to around 325, so you have to be very CAREFUL when handling the final product.
1. Place sugar and water in pan start reducing to a syrup and then to a dark golden brown. Unfortunately, it is difficult to say precisely how long it will take to get to desired consistency but he finished caramel needs to be the stage of golden brown moving towards brown.
2. Once the caramel is ready, remove from the heat and toss the pecans in the caramel coating them using a heat resisting spatula (this is what I like to use)
3. Spread the nuts on a non-stick surface and let cool, depending on how dark you cooked the caramel too you might have to break the nuts apart like candy.
Traditionally a standard simple syrup or poaching or sweetening is 2-parts sugar to 1-part water, but I usually do 50% water and 50% sugar, so they are not super sweet. You can also use store-bought product.
Medium sized pot
Paper towels or cloth towel
Slotted spoon or tongs to remove pears from syrup
1 ea. Vanilla bean or extract (optional)
2- cups of water
2- cups of sugar
1. Place 2 cups of water and 2 cups of sugar in a pot, bring to a boil and then to a simmer, set aside.
2. Take 2 harder type of pears (I tend to use D’ Anjou) and peel them with a vegetable peeler or knife. Cut in half and remove the core with an apple corer or you can cut the peeled pear into quarters and cut the core out.
3. Place the pear in the simmering simple syrup and cover with a cloth, so they stay submerged, you might have to adjust the heat up so the pot is simmering.
4. Depending on the size of the pears this will probably take about 20 minutes, the way you will know they are done is if you can easily stick a knife into them.
5. When done immediately remove from syrup and cool on a plate. If you think they are over cooked put them on a plate and immediately put in the refrigerator.
6. The simple syrup can be used in other recipes or even a cocktail, keep refrigerated, and this will last quite a while.
I have never seen a mustard vinaigrette at the store, so the recipe is below. You can also buy a dressing (not balsamic), here is one at TJ’s that would be great.
Damp towel to place bowl on so it does not move around when whisking
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 cup Olive oil
2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Honey or maple syrup
Salt and pepper
1. Place 2 Tablespoons of mustard in a mixing bowl (set on a damp towel, so it stays secure during whisking.
2. Whisk the mustard and slowly incorporate the oil, if you go to fast the mixture will break and you will have to start over in another bowl, add the mustard again and then incorporate the broken dressing.
3. Once the dressing is thick and smooth, then add the vinegar. This is really to taste, and you have to be careful not to add to quickly or the dressing with break again.
4. Next, incorporate the sweetener and salt and pepper.
Assembly / Finishing
There are few options on how to serve this salad, above is a picture of an individual presentation, but you can also cut and toss everything together and/or make a beautiful platter for the table.
1. Take the endive and remove 3 outer leaves a decoration or if doing a plater remove enough leaves to line the outside of platter.
2. Take the pears and slice them (the picture about shows the pears cut, so they be fanned out) or chop them.
3. If you made the nuts and they are stuck together like a piece oAs always, you can contact me with any questions, contact info is below.