ENDIVE, PEAR, AND STILTON SALAD
SERVES 4 AS A FIRST COURSE / ACTIVE TIME: 35 MINUTES / START TO FINISH: 35 MINUTES
2 teaspoons anise seeds
3 tablespoons chopped shallots
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 Firm but ripe pears, preferably Bosc
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 Belgian endives, trimmed and cut crosswise into 1/2 inch slices
1 cup crumbled Stilton (about 5 ounces)
Garnish: 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
MAKE THE DRESSING: Toast anise seeds in a dry small heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute. Let cool. Combine anise seeds, shallots, oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a blender and blend until very smooth; thin with a little water, if desired.
MAKE THE SALAD: Halve pears and core, preferably with a melon ball cutter. Cut into 1/4 inch-thick wedges. Heat butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides. Add half of pears and cook, turning occasionally, until golden, about 3 minutes total. Transfer pears with a slotted spoon to a plate and season with salt and pepper. Cook remaining pears in same manner. Toss endive with just enough dressing to coat and arrange half on a platter. Top with half of pears and half of Stilton. Make another layer with remaining endive, pears, and Stilton, then drizzle with some of remaining dressing and sprinkle with parsley.
Let me start by saying that I was SOOO excited about this salad and another recipe for a pear tart I was planning on making because I have never done a lot with pears and cheese. For those of you who don’t know, we found out we are expecting our third child, due in May…and at my first doctor appointment (right before I was going to make this salad) I was told I couldn’t have any type of blue cheese. And Stilton is a blue cheese. However, I had already bought the cheese and all the other ingredients so I knew I would still make the salad…it would just be for my husband instead. I was pretty bummed…and also kind of tickled about how cheese could be such a big deal…I mean why do I need to worry about Listeria?!
Because I am so used to reading a recipe and then just kind of doing my own thing (we should not do this with The Gourmet Cookbook…we should read and follow you all!) I didn’t even realize until I typed out the recipe that I didn’t even follow the directions on the dressing. Whoops! I’m sure it would have been delightful had I blended it. I thought it was a little odd that I would just add rough chopped shallots to a dressing. Also, for those of you who are wondering, Derick asked me if these were “anus” seeds and if so he wouldn’t be eating this salad. I gave him the side eye, and told him he would eat it even if they were pronounced that way.
What is an endive?! I asked myself, and will my grocery store even have a BELGIAN endive?! Apparently they are a thing, and they did have them. They remind me of the very heart of romaine lettuce. I didn’t know how to “trim them” so I just cut any wilted looking pieces off and called it good. Also, because it isn’t really lettuce…I was afraid it would be weird if it was just by it’s self and I was feeding my husband this for lunch. So I actually added a head of romaine and it took the salad much further.
The pears were sooo pretty and I was excited that my store also had Bosc…they were delicious.
And yes I used a teaspoon to core mine because I don’t own a mellon baller. When I first started cooking the pears…my heat was not hot enough. Also, I used more butter than the recipe called for because when I raised the heat, the butter evaporated. So we ended up around 6 tablespoons of butter. They turned out BEAUTIFUL.
See that straggler on the bottom…he didn’t brown because the heat wasn’t high enough. Lastly, I also didn’t add the garnish. This is not a restaurant you all! The next day, I anxiously awaited Derick’s response on how he liked it and what it all tasted like when it came together. I got, “The salad was awesome!” Coming from a meat and potatoes man, this was a definite win! This would be a great salad to serve next week to mix things up for Thanksgiving dinner.
Next up, I am sharing “Paella” Fried Rice.