Love and Olive Oil

Poached Pear and Goat Cheese Salad with Candied Pecans

Poached pear and goat cheese salad

I’m the plan ahead type when it comes to groceries. I like to buy a week’s worth of food at a time, knowing exactly what we’ll be cooking each night of the week.

And doing this every single week, I’ve learned a few things.

Namely, make the list when you’re hungry. And go shopping when you’re not.

It makes the final bill much more tolerable.

I found this recipe in one of my rushed and hunger-crazed list making sessions, which are easier if I’m browsing a site like with my stomach growling. It’s like eating with your eyes. I can easily find a week’s worth of new and unique recipes there in 15 minutes. Then I wipe the drool off of my chin, slam a granola bar, and head off to the store.

Poached Pear, Pecan, and Goat Cheese Salad

Makes 3-4 servings. Adapted from Laylita’s Recipes.

Poached Pears:
3 firm pears (we used Bosc)
3 cups white wine
¾ cup of sugar
1 cinnamon stick
4 strips orange peel

Herbed Goat Cheese:
6oz goat cheese, room temperature
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh herbs, such as thyme or basil

4 tablespoons white wine, sherry, or pear vinegar
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium sized shallots, peeled and chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Candied Pecans:
1 cup whole, shelled pecans
1 teaspoon water
1 egg white
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup granulated sugar

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 cool.

With a fork, thoroughly combine goat cheese, garlic, and herbs. You can also use a food processor if you’d like.

To prepare the vinaigrette combine all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender until emulsified.

To make candied pecans, pre-heat the oven to 275 degrees F. Separate one large egg. Add the egg white to one teaspoon of cold water to form an egg wash. Toss the pecans in the egg wash. Combine sugar, salt and cinnamon. Mix this with the pecans. Distribute the pecans in one layer on a cookie sheet and place in the oven. Let them cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring every so often. Remove pecans from oven and let cool.

To serve, toss the salad greens with the vinaigrette and arrange on a plate. Place each ½ pear on top of the salad greens or slice and arrange on top of the mixed greens. Top with crumbled herb goat cheese and cooled pecans. Serve immediately.

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  1. This was incredible.! I prepared this for the 1st course of a 6 course dinner with wines.  I wanted a bit more flavor for the pears so after a practice run, I made the pears with a super cheap Sauvignon Blanc and added a few whole cloves to the orange rind/cinnamon/sugar combo.  After poaching the pears (1 1/2 days early) I reduced the poaching liquid by half.  I then held the pears in the reduction (this enhanced the flavor).  I made my goat cheese with fresh thyme and garlic. I made 1/2 the amount of shallot vinaigrette with an added  bit of mustard as an emulsifier.  I wanted to use slivered almonds in place of the pecans, and that was fine.  Just don’t beat the egg whites too much before coating the nuts. You want as little egg on the nuts before coating them with the sugar/spice.   Nuts made 4 days in advance and held in baggies. Fabulous flavor combinations.

  2. This salad is right up my alley! I love all kinds of fun stuff like nuts and fruit and cheese to distract me from the fact that I’m eating salad. Just beautiful!

  3. I feel like poached pears are really in right now. I keep seeing a lot of recipes lately with them. And this looks great!
    – Jessie –

  4. Wow – that looks amazing. I have a ton of pears in my house right now that are going the way of the poach.

  5. Mmm…looks delicious. Do you deliver?? Ha!

  6. This is a perfect example of something that I would be happy to have for dinner- all by itself- no meat- not anything else. I’ll have to make it when hubby is off traveling, and I’ll enjoy every minute of it!

  7. perfection on a plate
    really beautiful

    i’d love to make that one…
    i might candy some walnuts

  8. Yum, I just love goat cheese in salads, in fact I made one with oranges and goat cheese last night!

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