Poach Pear Salad with Monocacy Ash

Serves: 4

Recipe by Patrick Dinh, Executive Chef
Tuscarora Mill Restaurant
Leesburg, Virginia

2 D'Anjou Pears, peeled
1 cup good red wine
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
3 each star anise
3 whole cloves

Place above ingredients into a small pot and bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes. Remove pears to cool. Reserve cooking liquid and cool. When pears are cool, slice in half from top to bottom, scoop out the seeds and remove fibers towards the stem. Return pears to the cooled cooking liquid. This can be done up to 2 days before.

Spiced Almonds:
1 cup sliced, blanched almonds
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon curry
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon allspice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Boil 2 cups water. Place sliced almonds in a bowl. Pour boiling water over almonds and let sit 15 seconds, stirring. Drain well. Toss blanched almonds with above spices and sugar. Spray down a cookie sheet with cooking spray and lay spiced almonds in a single layer. Place in oven for 10-15 minutes stirring a couple times during this time. Cool and set aside. Nuts should be crunchy, sweet, salty and spiced. These nuts can be kept in a tightly sealed container for up to a week.

Sherry Vinaigrette (approx. 1 1/2 cups):
1/4 cup aged sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1/2 cup canola oil + 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 crushed clove of garlic
2 tablespoons fine diced shallots
1 tablespoon fine chopped Italian parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Whisk vinegar and dijon together. Whisk in the 2 oils slowly so the vinaigrette stays emulsified. Add remaining ingredients. Set aside. At serving time, drain pears and blot with a paper towel. Slice each pear half into 8 thin wedge shaped pieces. Dress your desired quantity of Endless Summer Harvest lettuces with the vinaigrette, being careful not to over-dress the greens. Divide the dressed lettuces onto 4 chilled salad plates. Place sliced pears in a flower pattern around the lettuce. Slice the Monacacy Ash goat cheese into wedges and place on top of the pears. Sprinkle each salad with spiced almonds. Serve immediately.

Note: Endless Summer Harvest greens are available at Penn Quarter Farmers Market and many Northern Virginia Farmers Markets. www.esharvest.com

Posted: September 2009
Return to Recipes