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Bacon, Pear, and Blue Cheese Salad

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.

  • servings: 6

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Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  1. Step 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. Step 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. Step 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. Step 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. Step 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.

Source
Martha Stewart Living, October 2000

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