Butter Lettuce Salad with Pear and Gorgonzola

Fall is upon us and here, in Central Texas, it is pear season.  My neighbor brought me some beautiful Kieffer pears from his tree.  They inspired me to make this salad.

INGREDIENTS:Butter Lettuce Salad PearsButter Lettuce Salad Ingredients

  • 3 hard pears (Kieffer pears are hard and sweet)
  • 2 heads of butter lettuce
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 8 ounces of gorgonzola cheese
  • 3 sprigs each of oregano and thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of agave nectar
  • red vine vinegar (3 tablespoons for soaking the onion + 1/4 cup for the dressing)
  • Gravenstein apple balsamic vinegar (3 tablespoons for coating the pears + 1/4 cup for the dressing.)  The vinegar I used is from CONOLIOS.COM.  It is really delicious.  You can substitute white balsamic.
  • Pecan oil–1/4 cup for the dressing
  • Salt and pepper to taste

PREP:Butter Lettuce Salad Prep

  • Peel the onion and slice it thinly.  Place in a bowl.  Add 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar.  Season with a little salt and pepper.  Toss together and set aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.  This will allow the sharpness of the onion to mellow out.
  • Peel and core the pears.  Cut into thin strips.  Place in a bowl and toss with 3 tablespoons of the Gravenstein apple cider vinegar.  Set aside until you are ready to assemble the salad.
  • Crumble the blue cheese.  Place in the frig until you are ready to assemble the salad.
  • Toast the pecans.  Let them cool. SET ASIDE 6 WHOLE PECANS FOR GARNISH. Rough chop the rest.
  • Pull the herb leaves off their stems.  You should have 1/2 tablespoon of fresh herbs.
  • Clean the lettuce as needed.  I used a living hydroponic lettuce so there was not much cleaning to do.  Tear the lettuce into bite sized pieces.

RECIPE TIP–notice that I have seasoned each component of the salad separately.  I always do this because it makes the salad taste better.  Each component has its own flavor so nothing is bland.  The individual flavors play off of each other to create harmony.

Next, I will make the salad dressing and use it to coat just the lettuce leaves before assembling the salad.

PREPARING THE DRESSING:

Butter Lettuce Salad Dressing

  • In a ball jar, add the 1/4 cup of each of the vinegars and 1/4 cup of pecan oil.  Grind in a bit of salt and pepper.  Add the herbs and the Agave nectar.  Shake vigorously.
  • Taste the dressing, add more red wine vinegar if you need more acid.  Adjust the salt and pepper as needed.

ASSEMBLING THE SALAD:

Butter Lettuce Salad Feature

  • In a large bowl, add the lettuce leaves and sprinkle on half the dressing.  Toss and taste.  Add more dressing if you need it.  Put the rest of the dressing in a gravy boat for the table.  This way your guests can add more dressing if they need it.
  • Next add the onions, pears and 1/3 of the chopped pecans.  Toss gently.  Place the mixture on your serving platter.
  • Sprinkle the salad with 1/2 the cheese crumbles.  Put the rest of the crumbles in a bowl for the table.  This way if anyone wants extra gorgonzola cheese they can have it.
  • Lastly sprinkle on the rest of the chopped pecans and use the whole ones to make a little flower in the center of the salad platter.

This salad is almost a cheese and fruit course.  I like to serve it at the end of a meal with a glass of French Sauterne or Canadian Ice Wine.

Enjoy and please leave your feedback in the comment section.  I love hearing from you!!!

 

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