The hardest thing about making this recipe is not eating the roasted pears straight out of the oven. Sometimes I will roast two pears knowing the kids will grab a slice or two. They are the perfect balance of sweet, salty and savory with the port wine, chopped walnuts, dried cranberries, and Back to Organic Cumin Lime French Grey salt.
I prefer to serve the Bosc pears warm over a bed of dressed spinach especially when it is cold outside. You can serve them at room temperature if you wish to make them ahead of time. Definitely make the homemade dressing instead of using store bought. It is simple to make and worth the extra 4 minutes of time. This dressing has chopped walnuts and shallots, creamy dijon mustard, and champagne vinegar for the acid. Taste to see if you want more than the 2 teaspoons of Champagne vinegar; sometimes I add 1 tablespoon.
You can substitute Roquefort or Maytag Blue Cheese for the goat cheese. A stronger cheese can stand up to the cumin spice and port wine. I adapted this salad from a recipe in the cookbook In the Kitchen with Michael Salmon of the Hartstone Inn and he specifies Maytag Blue Cheese as well as a well- structured Riesling from Germany’s Reingau region for the wine pairing.
1) Make the Dressing- In a medium heavy bottomed, oven safe saucepan, heat the walnut oil over medium heat until warm and add the chopped walnuts and minced shallot. Remove from heat and cool. In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard and honey. Continue whisking and slowly drizzle in the cooled walnut oil with shallots and nuts. Season with Cumin Lime French grey to taste.
2) Roast the Pears- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice the pears in half and remove the core and stem with a knife or melon baller. Cut each half into 6 wedges. In the medium saucepan used for the dressing, add the walnut oil, port wine, brown sugar, cumin lime salt, walnut pieces and cranberries. Toss together. Add the pear slices and evenly coat. Place the pear mixture in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven when the pears are tender and cool slightly.
3) Serve the Salad- Toss the spinach in enough honey and walnut dressing to coat. Place about 1 cup of spinach leaves on a plate. Arrange 3 pear wedges on the spinach. Sprinkle some walnuts, cranberries and a little port wine sauce over the salad. Add the goat cheese or blue cheese pieces around the pears. Enjoy slightly warm.