Pear Salad with Toasted Pecan Goat Cheese Rounds and Honey Balsamic Dressing

Pear Salad with Toasted Pecans Goat Cheese Rounds and Balsamic Honey Dressing
Last week Doc and I ran away to the beach. One last chance to feel the warm sun on our faces and wiggle our toes in the hot sand! We met my cousin Whitney and godson Patrick for a couple of days. I promised Patrick, who is 9, a special date for breakfast. Of course he was up at the crack of dawn asking his mother, “Is she up yet?” He and I enjoyed what I call, “The Breakfast of Champions.” What is it? Ice cream of course! Our adventure didn’t end there. We searched every pond for Chomp the alligator.

This is a special fall salad. The roasted pears have a hint of honey butter and melt in your mouth. The salad greens are delicate and should be dressed at the last minute so they won’t wilt. The creamy warm goat cheese is contrasted by the crunchy, nutty flavor of the toasted pecans.

Pear Salad with Toasted Pecan Goat Cheese Rounds and Honey Balsamic Dressing

½ cup chopped toasted pecans
2 firm pears (I used Anjou. Love the red color!)
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1 tablespoon honey
1 (4 ounce) log goat cheese
5 ounces baby spring mix
Balsamic Vinaigrette (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spread pecans in a single layer in a cake pan. Bake 5 minutes. Remove pecans from pan and place in a bowl to cool.

Meanwhile, Cut each pear and stem in half lengthwise. Remove core. Keep stem. Place in a 9 inch square baking dish lined with foil for easy cleanup. Set aside.
Melt butter in microwave oven. Stir in honey.  Spoon honey butter over both sides of pears. Place pears cut side down and bake 25 minutes or until tender.

While pears are baking, coat goat cheese log with cooled chopped pecans. Cut into 4 discs. (You may have to refrigerate the log briefly to firm it back up before cutting). Save remaining pecans for garnish. Make vinaigrette (recipe below). Remove pears from oven. Gently turn pears over cut side up. Place 1 goat cheese disc on each pear half. Return to oven 5 minutes to soften and warm cheese.

To serve: Dress baby spring mix with vinaigrette. Divide salad mix evenly between 4 salad plates. Garnish with reserved pecans and Craisins. Place pear halves on top of greens in center of each plate. Tastes like fall!

Balsamic Honey Vinaigrette

½ cup white balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
¼ teaspoon iodized salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
½ cup canola oil

Whisk together all ingredients except oil. Add oil, pouring in a slow stream, whisking constantly to emulsify. 

Published in The News and Neighbor on September 14, 2013

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