Arugula topped with dried cranberries, blue cheese and walnuts is my favorite type of salad. I usually eat it at least once a week. Depending on the season, I will substitute the cranberries for strawberries or any other seasonal fruit. For the fall season, I thought it would be perfect to add sliced pears. Recently, I came across Ina Garten’s roasted pears with blue cheese recipe and love how it is a slightly different version of my favorite salad.
I used the first ripened lemons of the season for this Roasted Pears with Cranberries, Blue Cheese and Walnuts. Combining some of my favorite ingredients, this salad is light, fresh, and slightly sweet. While this salad is relatively simple, it makes an impressive dish for a dinner party or holiday event.
I mentioned a few weeks ago that our Meyer lemon tree has a ton of lemons this year. With the cooler weather they are starting to ripen. For the next few months I will be trying to use them and give them away as much as possible. I wish I could ship them, because I seriously have enough to share with everyone. Fresh organic Meyer lemons are unlike any lemon you can ever buy at the store. Since we had a lot of rain this summer, they are huge and incredibly juicy.
Serves 6 servings
Roasted Pears with Cranberries, Blue Cheese and Walnuts
3 ripe D'Anjou pears, peeled and sliced lengthwise into halves
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided
3 oz. blue cheese crumbles
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup walnut halves, toasted and chopped
1/2 cup apple cider
3 tbsp. port wine
3 tbsp. light brown sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
6 oz. baby arugula
freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Using a paring knife and a melon baller, remove the core and seeds from each pear. Trim a small slice away from the rounded backside of each pear half so that they will sit in the baking dish without tipping over. Toss the pears with 1/4 cup lemon juice. Place pears, core side up, in baking dish that is just large enough to hold the pears snugly.
In a small bowl, combine the blue cheese, cranberries and walnuts; toss to combine. Divide the mixture evenly among the pears, mounding it on top of the indentation.
In the same small bowl, combine the cider, port, and brown sugar; stir to combine. Pour the mixture over and around the pears. Bake the pears for 30 minutes, or until tender. While baking, occasionally spoon some of the basting liquid over the pears. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
In a large bowl, whisk the olive oil, 1/4 cup lemon juice and 1/4 cup of the basting liquid. Add the arugula; toss well. Divide the arugula among 6 small plates and top each with a pear. Drizzle each pear with any excess basting liquid, sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve.