Oh my word, this is good! This salad is light, tangy, yet surprisingly satisfying. A notorious nibbler, my husband even cleaned his plate last night. The Barefoot Contessa came through again with her new cookbook (thanks again Dad and Karen for the Christmas present), Back to Basics. The extra step of baking the pear and cheese is well worth it.
3 lemons, juiced
3 oz. crumbled blue cheese
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans
1/2 cup apple cider
3 T. port (or brandy)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
10 oz. baby arugula (or mixed baby greens)
Preheat oven to 350F. Slice the pears in half and de-core the fruit with a melon baller. Place the pears in a tight fitting baking dish (with sides). In a separate bowl, mix cheese, cranberries, and nuts together and mound mixture on top of pears. In a small bowl, mix cider, port, and brown sugar. Pour over the pears. Bake pears, basting occasionally for 30 min or until tender. Set aside till room temp.
Just before serving, whisk 1/4 C. lemon juice, 1/4 cup reserved basting liquid from the pears, and 1/4 C. olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Place arugula on plates, place one pear in the center and drizzle the dressing over.