Poached Pear and Brie Salad
It’s officially pear season. Move over, pumpkins!
I always make sure I grab a few pears whenever I make a trip to the grocery store. When I get home, I place them in the fruit bowl to ripen on the counter before storing them in the refrigerator until I’m ready to eat (that’s if they last that long).
I’ve been going a little pear crazy lately and adding sweet, ripe pears to my morning smoothie, making chutney for my morning oatmeal, and baking them in to all sorts of fall treats.
USA Pears is currently harvesting all 10 varieties of their pears, Yellow Bartlett being my pear of choice. They’re sweet and juicy when ripe. You can tell when a pear is ripe by pressing gently on the narrow “neck” of the pear near its stem. If it gives to pressure, it’s ripe. I also like to perform what I call the sniff test. If the pear smells like a pear, it’s ready to eat.
For this recipe, I poached under-ripe Yellow Bartlett pears in Riesling and placed them on top a bed of crisp mixed greens and tossed in some creamy brie and toasted pecans.
Poaching pears is incredibly simple. It sounds like a fancy cooking technique, but I assure you it’s not. Poaching is just a fancy term for gently simmering. I used a mixture of white wine, water, and granulated sugar to create a sweet, flavorful poaching liquid for my pears.
Add wine, water, and sugar to a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil and turn the heat down to medium-low. While you wait for the mixture to boil, peel your pears. I leave the stem on for aesthetics and a handle to grab when I’m plating.
Place your pears in the gently simmering wine mixture so that the pears are laying on their side. Simmer the pears for 20 minutes, turning once for even cooking.
When the pears are finished cooking, crank up the heat and allow the mixture to reduce by half, about 10 minutes.
Slice the cooled pears and arrange them on top a bed of mixed greens. Toss in the brie and toasted pecans. Drizzle the salad with the balsamic vinaigrette.
You’re not going to use the wine reduction for the salad; however, it’s delicious mixed in a cocktail, bubbly champagne, or cold club soda. If you happen to have a leftover poached pear hanging around, the poaching liquid is delicious drizzled over the pear. Or, for a decadent treat, top your poached pear with vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of the poaching liquid.
Poached Pear Salad with Brie
Sweet pears poached in crisp Riesling and sliced thin atop a bed of mixed greens tossed with brie and toasted pecans.
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
- 4 under-ripe Yellow Bartlett Pears, peeled
- 2 cups white wine, such as Riesling or Pinot Grigio
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 6 cups mixed greens
- 8-ounces brie, sliced
- 1 and 1/2 cups toasted pecans
- 1 recipe balsamic vinaigrette
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Add wine, water, and sugar to a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low.
- Peel the pears and add them to the liquid so that the pears are laying on their side. Cook, turning the pears once half way through, for 20 minutes minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the widest part of the pear goes in easily.
- Remove the pears from the liquid with a slotted spoon.
- Turn the heat up to medium-high and allow the mixture to reduce by half, about 10 minutes.
- Allow the pears to cool just enough to handle. Slice the pears into thin wedges.
- Store the reduced poaching liquid in the fridge.
- Add the mixed greens to a large bowl. Add sliced pear, brie, and toasted pecans. Toss to combine.
- Add the balsamic vinaigrette and toss to combine. Serve immediately.
- In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, garlic, and dijon mustard.
- Slowly drizzle in the olive oil as you whisk. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
The reduced poaching liquid can be used to sweeten cocktails, added to champagne, or mixed with club soda. If you have a leftover pear, you spoon the poaching liquid over the pear and eat it for a snack. The poaching liquid is also delicious spooned over vanilla ice cream.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.