Sometimes I think I could add goat cheese to anything and it would make it better. Goat cheese is one of those ingredients, at least for me, that is an essential. Of course, the older I get, the more items I add to my list of “essential” ingredients. It used to be that chocolate was the only one on the list. I love salads, pears and goat cheese, but this is the first time I’ve tasted them combined together and it’s good, addictive good. This recipe is adapted from one of my favorite (and very creative) cookbooks – Fired Up- by Jeff Blank, who is the chef and owner of a Hudson’s on the Bend in Austin, TX. The original recipe uses sherry vinegar but I used pear vinegar instead. I’ve made it before with the sherry vinegar and it’s also very good, but mainly I was looking for an excuse to try the new pear vinegar I bought. I also used mixed greens instead of arugula. I love arugula but I felt that between the spiciness of the herbed goat cheese and the shallots in the vinaigrette, I needed something a little more subtle. The quantities in this recipe are for 6 people.
Adapted from Fired Up by Jeff Blank
6-8 tbs herbed goat cheese, room temperature
3 firm pears, the Bosc variety are great for poaching
3 cups of sweet white wine, Riesling or Gewurztraminer
¾ cup of sugar
1 cinnamon stick
4 strips orange peel
Pear shallot vinaigrette
4 tbs pear vinegar
6 tbs olive oil
2 medium sized shallots, peeled and chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
About 6 cups of mixed greens
- Heat the wine, sugar, cinnamon and orange peel in a large saucepan, stir occasionally.
- Meanwhile peel the pears, cut them in half and core them; add them to the wine mix once it boils.
- Cook until the pears are tender but still slightly firm, about 15 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and let the pears cool down.
- To prepare the vinaigrette combine all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender and mix well.
- Toss the salad greens with the vinaigrette and arrange on a plate.
- Place each ½ pear on top of the salad greens or alternatively you can slice the pear halves and arrange the slices on top of the mixed greens.
- Put the herbed goat cheese in a pastry bag and add a squirt either in the indention of the pear half, or on the sides.
- Serve immediately.