Roasted Pears with Blue Cheese – recipe by Ina Garten (serves6)
I was gifted the Barefoot Contessa “back to basics” book by my friends. While going through the recipes this one really caught my eye and then of course I saw Ina make it on her show. I invited a few friends over for dinner and this was going to be a really special dinner as this was their farewell party. So I wanted to bring in the “WOW” factor. It is delicious and a beautiful looking salad.
- 3 ripe but firm Anjou pears
- Freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
- 3 ounces coarsely crumbled sharp blue cheese such as Stilton
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup walnut halves, toasted and chopped
- 1/2 cup apple cider
- 3 tablespoons port
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1/4 cup good olive oil
- 6 ounces baby arugula
- Kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Peel the pears and slice them lengthwise into halves. With a small, sharp paring knife and a melon baller, remove the core and seeds from each pear, leaving a round well for the filling. Trim a small slice away from the rounded sides of each pear half so that they will sit in the baking dish without wobbling. Toss the pears with lemon juice to prevent them from turning brown. Arrange them, core side up, in a baking dish large enough to hold the pears snugly. Gently toss the crumbled blue cheese, dried cranberries and walnuts together in a small bowl. Divide the mixture among the pears, mounding it on top of the indentation. In the same small bowl, combine the apple cider, port, and brown sugar, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour the mixture over and around the pears. Bake the pears, basting occasionally with the cider mixture, for 30 minutes, or until tender. Set aside until warm or at room temperature.
Just before serving, whisk together the olive oil, 1/4 cup lemon juice and 1/4 cup of the basting liquid in a large bowl. Add the arugula and toss well. divide the arugula among 6 plates and top each with a pear half. Drizzle each pear with some of the basting liquid, sprinkle with salt, and serve.
Note: I generally tend to use less lemon juice in the dressing, as I like the dressing to be sweeter.