As I write, I have just prepared “Brunch Burritos” for the guys using chorizo sausage, eggs, onions, jalapenos and grated Queso rolled into a grilled flour tortilla. On top of the stove is Turkey Carcass Part Deux (it was a big turkey) simmering with carrots, onion, celery, bay leaves and peppercorns to make a rick stock for our dinner of Tortellini en Brodo. It smells glorious in the house, I’m still in my jammies, and I am pretty perfectly content.
I have declared Sundays during December as a day dedicated to holiday foods. I am not quite at the cookie-baking, Buche-rolling stage yet, so I’m thinking of things that are festive, beautiful and (of course) delicious that can be taken to a “bring something” kind of party. These are thick on the ground at this time of year, and can be a little confounding in the midst of a frantic week of school concerts, pageant rehearsals, holiday decorating, or whatever you have going on.
The following is a recipe I originally discovered on allrecipes.com, and tweaked to suit my fancy. Its pretty, its sophisticated, and it can be made in parts and assembled at the scene of the
crime party. It is not something that kids necessarily enjoy, but you know what? Someone will bring a plain green salad or some sort of jello mold thing and the kids will be just fine. Another reason to prepare this recipe during the winter holidays is that Anjou, Bosc and Comice pears are all in season and available. For help picking good ones, look here.
Roquefort Pear Salad
(Adapted from this recipe on allrecipes.com)
- 1 head leaf lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces (If you are really in a hurry, a bag of Field Greens is also pretty)
- 3 pears – cored and chopped (the original recipe calls for peeling the pears, but I don’t; I think it makes them mushy and less colorful)
- 5 ounces Roquefort cheese, crumbled (I have used a mild Danish Blue and a Feta in place of the Roquefort; some folks just really hate strong bleu cheese).
- 1 avocado – peeled, pitted, and diced
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup pecans
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons prepared mustard
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- fresh ground black pepper to taste
DIRECTIONS 1. To Candy Pecans: In a skillet over medium heat, stir 1/4 cup of sugar together with the pecans. Continue stirring gently until sugar has melted and caramelized the pecans. Carefully transfer nuts onto waxed paper. Allow to cool, and break into pieces. (Do not leave this alone for even a second or you will be sorry).
2. For Dressing: blend oil, vinegar, 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, mustard, chopped garlic, salt, and pepper.
3. To Assemble: In a large serving bowl, layer lettuce, pears, blue cheese, avocado, and green onions. Pour dressing over salad, sprinkle with pecans, and serve.
4. To Make Ahead: You can make dressing, slice the onions, and candy the pecans a day or two ahead (although the pecans will need to be stored in an airtight container). Don’t cut the avocado or pears until the last possible minute, or they will brown. If you want to keep the pears and avocado looking good en route, toss them with a bit of lemon or lime juice before adding to the salad.
5. Portable Salad: Before you leave home, layer lettuce, pears, blue cheese, avocado, and green onions in serving bowl and cover tightly. Carry dressing and pecans separately and assemble on-site.