Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Pear and Blue Cheese Salad (& Sweet Potatoes!)

I was a little overly ambitious for my first Thanksgiving meal. In addition to all the usual sides plus a few extras, I wanted to throw in this Pear and Blue Cheese salad I had come across on foodnetwork.com. My husband insisted there just wasn't any room for a salad before the Thanksgiving feast...he didn't want any veggies taking up any extra space in his stomach I guess! But for those of us that did manage to make some room, this salad was wonderful (the phrase "best ever salad" was thrown out a couple times...I'm just sayin'...). I can't really even take credit for anything other than finding the recipe...my mom threw this together while I was finishing up the green bean casserole.



We used pecans because we had them on hand from a pecan pie...and I also left out the endive.


2/3 cup nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds, or cashews)
1 bunch watercress
1 bunch arugula
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 Belgian endive
2 ripe pears, such as Anjou, Bartlett, or Comice
2 ounces mild blue cheese (about 1/2 cup loosely packed crumbles)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the nuts on a sheet pan in a single layer. Bake, shaking the pan occasionally, until the nuts are toasted and fragrant, about 7 to 10 minutes. Let the nuts cool, and then coarsely chop.


2. Trim the stems of the watercress and arugula. Wash and dry the leaves.


3. Meanwhile, whisk the vinegar and mustard together in a large salad bowl. Season with the 1/4 teaspoon salt and some pepper. Gradually whisk in the olive oil, starting with a few drops and then adding the rest in a steady stream, to make a smooth, slightly thick dressing.


4. Halve the endive lengthwise, cut out core, then thinly slice crosswise and add all the lettuces to the bowl.

5. Quarter and core the unpeeled pears and thinly slice; add to the salad. Scatter the cheese and nuts over the salad, and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Toss the salad gently to evenly dress all the greens. Divide among 4 plates and serve immediately.

***Also, the next time you need a great sweet potato casserole recipe, look no further than this recipe. These orange flavored sweet potatoes with a delicious crumbled oatmeal cookie topping were excellent! They even got rave reviews from those around our table that aren't sweet potato fans. The picture turned out kind of scarily orange so just take my word for it...these are worth making!!

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