Chunky homemade blue cheese dressing steals the show in this delicious combination of heirloom lettuces, caramelized pears and toasted pecans.
If you prefer, romaine makes a good substitute for heirloom lettuce because it stands up well to the bold dressing.
|2 large||pears (slightly shy of ripe)|
|1||juice of 1 fresh lemon|
|1/4 teaspoon||ground star anise|
|2 tablespoons||unsalted butter|
|7 ounces||Earthbound Farm Heirloom Lettuce Leaves|
|4 ounces||crumbled blue cheese (preferably Roquefort)|
|1 tablespoon||fresh lemon juice|
|1 1/2 teaspoons||freshly ground pepper|
|1 small||clove garlic (finely minced)|
|3 dashes||Tabasco Sauce (to taste)|
Peel the pears and rub them with lemon juice. Cut the pears in half through the stem end and remove the cores with a small spoon. Rub with more lemon juice. Cut each pear half into 4 wedges, so that you have a total of 16 wedges.
Combine the sugar and star anise in a small bowl and stir to blend.
Melt the butter in a skillet that is large enough to hold the pears in a single layer without crowding (alternately, use 2 pans or cook them in batches) over medium heat. Arrange the pears in the skillet and raise the heat to medium-high. Sprinkle the pears with half of the sugar and cook until the bottoms begin to turn golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully flip the pears, sprinkle with the remaining sugar, and cook until the second side is caramelized, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the wedges to a plate and let them cool.
To make the dressing, place the blue cheese, mayonnaise, lemon juice, pepper, salt, sugar and garlic in a small bowl and stir to blend. Whisk in the buttermilk. Add Tabasco to taste. The dressing can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 2 weeks.
Assemble the salad by placing the lettuce leaves, either whole or broken into pieces, in a large bowl. Add some of the dressing and toss to coat the leaves, adding more as desired.
Divide the greens among 4 plates. Arrange 4 pear wedges on top of each mound of greens and sprinkle with the pecans. Lightly drizzle some of the dressing over the pears and serve immediately.