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Bacon, Pear, and Blue Cheese Salad


Seckel pears and shallots, caramelized in the oven, are placed on watercress and sprinkled with crisp bacon. The dressing is a tart, syrupy reduction of pure apple cider. Blue cheese on croutons is served alongside.

  • Servings: 6

Source: Martha Stewart Living, October 2000


  • 4 cups apple cider, or juice
  • 1 small baguette, cut diagonally into 12 slices (1/2 inch each)
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 9 Seckel pears
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 8 medium shallots, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 6 thick slabs bacon (6 ounces each), cut crosswise into 1-inch squares
  • 2 watercress, washed and large stems removed
  • 1/2 pound blue cheese


  1. Place cider in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Cook until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 30 minutes. Cider should have a syrupy consistency. Remove from heat, and keep warm.

  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Make croutons: Place bread slices on a baking sheet, and brush with 4 tablespoons butter. Toast until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.

  3. Cut pears in half; remove seeds with a small melon baller, and discard. Place pears in a medium bowl. Squeeze lemon juice over, and toss to combine. Add shallots to bowl. Drizzle with remaining 4 tablespoons melted butter; sprinkle with sugar, salt, and pepper; and toss to coat. Place in roasting pan, pears cut side down. Roast until golden brown and soft when pierced with a knife, 35 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally and gently with a wooden spoon.

  4. While pears are cooking, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon, and saute until golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain; set aside. Remove pears and shallots from pan, and keep warm.

  5. Arrange watercress on six serving plates, top with warm pear mixture, and sprinkle with bacon. Place two croutons with a piece of blue cheese on each plate. Drizzle reduced cider over salad. Serve immediately.

Cook's Notes

Seckel pears work best for this salad, but others, such as Forelle, make a good substitute. If small pears are not available, use four to five Bosc pears and cut into quarters rather than halves.

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