“One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;
And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter
Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,
Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place
For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.”
– Wallace Stevens, “The Snow Man”
The first recipe I posted in 2013 was an arugula salad, and I couldn’t think of a better way to start 2014 than with another one. I made a few substitutions to Ina Garten’s original recipe, so I’ve noted both the original and revised ingredients below. Whether you’ve made a resolution to eat more healthy food, or are simply looking for a delicious salad recipe, Roasted Pears with Blue Cheese and Arugula is a perfect way to start the year.
Roasted Pears with Blue Cheese and Arugula
(adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics by Ina Garten)
3 ripe but firm Anjou pears
freshly squeezed lemon juice, about half a lemon’s worth (first amount)
3 ounces coarsely crumbled sharp blue cheese
1/4 cup dried cranberries (I used dried cherries)
1/4 cup walnut halves, toasted and chopped (I used pecan halves)
1/2 cup apple cider
3 Tablespoons port (I used brandy)
1/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1/4 cup good olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, about two lemons’ worth (second amount)
6 ounces baby arugula
a pinch of kosher salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Peel the pears and slice them lengthwise into halves. Remove the core and seeds from each pear, leaving a round well for the filling. Trim a small slice away from the rounded sides of each pear half so they can sit in a baking dish without wobbling. Toss the pears with lemon juice (first amount) to prevent browning. Arrange them core side up in a baking dish large enough to hold the pears snugly.
Gently toss the crumbled blue cheese, dried cranberries and walnuts together in a small bowl. Divide the mixture among the pears, mounding it on top of the indentation.
In the same small bowl, combine the apple cider, port and brown sugar, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour the mixture over and around the pears. Bake pears, basting occasionally with the cider mixture, for 30 minutes or until tender. Set aside until warm or at room temperature.
Just before serving, whisk together the olive oil, 1/4 cup of lemon juice, and 1/4 cup of the basting liquid in a large bowl. Add the arugula and toss well. Divide the arugula among 6 plates and top each with a pear half. Drizzle each pear with some of the basting liquid, sprinkle with salt, and serve warm.