I first posted this recipe for a Pear, Walnut and Blue Cheese Salad with Maple Dijon Dressing five years ago so it seems perfect for a Wayback Wednesday post. I was using a point and shoot camera on the verge of dying and only had pecans in lieu of my beloved walnuts. So it seemed appropriate when I made it again this past week that I do a re-posting; it is my favorite salad of all time. I give all credit to Nordstrom’s Cafe; once I discovered this salad I don’t think I’ve ever ordered anything else so decided a few years ago to try making something similar at home. Their salad is simple; pear, blue cheese, and candied walnuts served over mixed greens. I don’t recall if the red onions were their idea or mine but no matter, they are a perfect complement both in taste and color. The dressing served with the salad at the cafe, while good, was their bottled Champagne vinaigrette but I wanted something a bit different and thought a maple syrup and Dijon dressing would be perfect.
My daughter worked at the local Nordstrom’s cafe in high school, interned there after college and until last year was a Visual team member so she has a long history there. The Cafe has always been happy to share recipes with me; since first posting a reader asked for the recipe for the vinaigrette so I’m sharing it today too. If you’re a purist about this salad then this is THE one!
I actually used Gorgonzola when I made it this week in lieu of blue cheese. I prefer the milder taste and more often have it on hand. Though my original post had pecans in lieu of walnuts because they are what was available in my pantry, my latest effort included the original (and my favorite) nut. Guess you could say ‘sometimes I feel like a nut’ and the nut I’m feeling most like is walnut!
I was lucky to receive some amazing maple syrup from my friend in Canada, Paula at @vanillabeanbake (http://vanillabeanbaker.com), and I’m sure it is what inspired me to make this salad last week. This photo is from a bottle she sent me years ago; my most recent gift has family ties to Paula but I failed to get a new photo, oops. Still, it’s real Canadian Maple Syrup… try not to be too jealous! :)
It was fun making something with a gift from a friend; the only thing that could beat would be to have Paula enjoying this salad with me. Thank you so much Paula! I love this dressing; using real Canadian maple syrup just raises it another notch!
Th dressing is a perfect combination of olive oil, Dijon mustard and maple syrup; think honey mustard but it’s maple mustard this time around. Although I’ve served it with salmon on several occasions, I know it’s also perfect all by itself as a light meal. Especially perfect this time of year when pears are coming into the market; trust me, it’s a keeper!
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup pecan or walnut halves
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
- pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon chopped shallot
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 cup Champagne wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups salad oil
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- Mesclun greens, 4-6 cups
- 2 pears, peeled and chopped (toss with some lemon juice to keep them from discoloring if necessary)
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion rings, halved
- 1/3 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
- 2/3 cup Maple Candied Walnuts or Pecans (in a pinch, just toast some nuts), roughly chopped
- Melt the butter in a pan
- Mix in the maple syrup and pepper
- Add the pecans and toss to coat
- Cook on medium low heat about 15 minutes. Stir every 5 minutes. Watch carefully so they don't burn.
- Turn out on aluminum foil and let cool for 5 minutes; break apart if necessary.
- Mix all ingredients in bowl using wire whisk.
- Place greens on individual plates. Sprinkle chopped pears, nuts and cheese on top of salad greens. Drizzle dressing over salad or serve on the side to suit individual tastes. Beautiful and delicious.
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