Roasted Pear & Roquefort Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette and Caramel

Roasted pear with soft blue cheese and a drizzle of caramel. A bed of shaved fennel and greens tossed in a light vinaigrette. This delicious salad has layers of flavor and makes a nice accompaniment for the Butternut Squash and Bacon Galette.

Serves 4

2 Bartlett pears
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup heavy cream
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 ½ tablespoons Champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
Pinch salt and pepper
4 cups salad greens, such as mesclun mix, arugula, baby spinach, frisée, or red leaf
1 small fennel bulb, sliced thin
4 ounces Roquefort cheese

Preheat oven to 400˚F

Slice pears in two and with a melon baller or small spoon, scoop out the seeds and discard. Place pear halves on a baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes or until fork tender. Cooking time will depend on the ripeness of the pears.

Pour sugar and 2 tablespoons of water in a saucepan. Bring to a rapid simmer over medium-high heat and swirl (don’t stir with a spoon) the mixture until the sugar is dissolved. Without stirring, let simmer until the color changes to light brown, about 5 to 8 minutes, then turn off heat.

Slowly stir in cream until combined. Add salt and stir until smooth. Set aside until needed. If caramel becomes too thick before serving, simply reheat it over low heat until fluid.

In a blender, combine olive oil, vinegar, mustard, honey, salt and pepper. Blend until emulsified.

In a large bowl, combine salad greens and fennel with Champagne vinaigrette; toss until salad is coated with dresssing.

You can serve this two ways:

(1) Plate salad, then add a roasted pear half, an ounce of blue cheese, and a spoonful of caramel sauce or

(2) Slice the roasted pears and add them to the salad greens along with crumbled cheese in a large bowl; toss to combine. Plate and drizzle caramel over the entire salad.

Note: The caramel, vinaigrette and roasted pears can each be made 1 day in advance and stored in the refrigerator.

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MEREDITH STEELE is a recipe developer, food writer, food photographer and author of, an award winning family food blog celebrating creative and fresh foods. Her recipe development and photography company, MBS Recipe Development specializes in multimedia recipe development for commercial and small business who’s clients include everyone from Ziploc® to small wineries. Meredith’s work has been published online, in various print media, and has been nominated for the SAVEUR awards. She can also be found across the pond writing a monthly column for When Meredith is not in the kitchen, she’s roaming Dallas, Texas with her husband, curly-headed pixie of a daughter, and big floppy-eared dog.