I first posted this recipe almost 2 years ago, when I was using a camera on the verge of dying and when I had to use 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. I absolutely love the pear and bleu cheese salad at Nordstrom’s Cafe so decided to try making something similar at home. Their salad is simple; pear, bleu 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 and I just wanted something a bit different and love the maple syrup dressing with Dijon mustard that I found online.
My daughter worked at the local Nordstrom’s cafe in high school, interned there after college and is now one of their Visual team members so she has a long history there. They’ve always been happy to share recipes with me so I’m lucky to have the real deal for the Champagne vinaigrette. The manager of the Cafe recently told me that if I get requests from readers for a certain recipe that they would like to try recreating at home to let them know and they’ll be happy to accommodate me if they can. Let me know if there is something you’ve enjoyed there that you would like to try at home and I’ll see what I can do!
I actually used Gorgonzola when I made it this week in lieu of bleu 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 a surprise gift of walnuts from my @CAWalnuts friend Sara on Twitter (www.walnuts.org). I’m having a walnut sort of year. You know; sometimes you do just feel like a nut and the nut I’m feeling most like is toasted walnuts!
I was also so lucky to receive some amazing maple syrup from another Twitter friend in Canada, Paula at @vanillabeanbake (http://vanillabeanbaker.wordpress.com), and I wanted to use it for this salad. Doesn’t it just look so, well, authentic?! It was fun making something with gifts from friends; the only thing that could beat that is if they were here enjoying this salad with me. Thank you so much Sara and Paula! I still love the dressing I found last year from Closet Cooking and it seems appropriate to use my real Canadian maple syrup in a dressing recipe from one of Paula’s fellow Canadians!
This dressing is a perfect combination of olive oil, Dijon mustard and maple syrup and I also used Kevins’ recipe to candy the walnuts. We originally enjoyed it on Mother’s Day last year but it’s equally good now, after so many holiday indulgences when we are craving something lighter but still bursting with flavor. Although I served it with salmon on both occasions, I know it would also be wonderful with grilled chicken.
- 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
- 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
- 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 gorgonzola on top of salad greens. Drizzle dressing over salad or serve on the side to suit individual tastes. Beautiful and delicious.
For some masochistic reason, I like to include the old picture on posts I redo. So you can laugh…or maybe gain some encouragement that practice, while not necessarily meaning perfect, can certainly see a road to improvement!