Butter Lettuce Salad With Pears, Pecans And Gorgonzola Cheese
The Earthbound Cook
by Myra Goodman
There is something especially wonderful about the soft, tender leaves of butter lettuce paired with sweet, juicy pears, creamy Gorgonzola, and a sprinkling of sweet and crunchy toasted pecans. Dressed with a light balsamic vinaigrette, this salad makes an elegant start to a meal— especially during the autumn months, when pears are at their prime. Stilton or Roquefort, as well as goat cheese, will also work well with this combination of flavors.
Serves 4 as a side salad
6 cups butter lettuce leaves, torn Into bite-size pieces, carefully rinsed and dried
About 2/3 cup Light Balsamic Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
1 ripe pear, quartered, cored and thinly sliced crosswise
1/2 cup pecan pieces, toasted
1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
1. Place the lettuce in a large bowl and toss with half of the dressing. Divide the lettuce among four salad plates.
2. Place the pears in the same bowl, drizzle them with a small amount of dressing, and toss to coat. Divide the pears among the salad plates.
3. Sprinkle the pecans and cheese over the salads. Drizzle with additional dressing, if desired, and serve immediately.
LIGHT BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE
Balsamic vinegar makes salad dressings sparkle, and is especially complementary in this salad, with its robust ingredients. It has a rich mellowness that complements the pears, pecans, and Gorgonzola without the assertive bite of some vinegars. But don't stop here—this light and flavorful vinaigrette will enhance just about any salad.
Makes about 2/3 cup
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons minced shallot
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Place all the ingredients in a glass jar and seal the lid tightly. Shake vigorously to combine. (The dressing can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 1 month. Let it return to room temperature and shake vigorously before using.)