Delia

Warm Pear and Walnut Salad with Roquefort Dressing and Croutons

You might think that being continuously enthusiastic about new recipes would get harder with time. Not a bit of it – there are always more and more delectable combinations of ingredients, and here is yet another! A combination of green leaves, crunchy walnuts, pears and creamy Roquefort dressing is a sensation and just wait until you taste the Roquefort croutons as well.


Serves 4 as a light lunch

This recipe is taken from Delia’s Vegetarian Collection. It has also appeared in Sainsbury's Magazine (Dairy Collection).

Warm Pear and Walnut Salad with Roquefort Dressing and Croutons
Ingredients
 2 hard dessert pears
 1½ oz (40 g) walnut pieces
 5 oz (150 g) Roquefort cheese
 1 tablespoon walnut oil
 ½ oz (10 g) butter
 2 rounded tablespoons crème fraîche
 1 large egg yolk
 2 x 2½ oz (60 g) bags herb salad or equivalent
For the croutons:
 2 oz (50 g) bread, cut into small cubes
 1 dessertspoon olive oil
Equipment

You will also need a solid baking sheet and a large frying pan.

Method

Begin by making the croutons: first of all, place ½ oz (10 g) of the Roquefort in a bowl and, using a fork, blend it with the olive oil.

Now add the cubes of bread and toss them around thoroughly to get an even coating. Then spread them out on the baking sheet and pop them into the oven for 10-12 minutes or until they are evenly brown. Best to put a timer on to remind you! The croutons can be made well in advance.

When you are ready to serve the salad, first cut the pears into quarters, remove the cores but leave the skins on, then cut each quarter into 4 slices.

Next, heat the walnut oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and lightly sauté the walnuts, tossing them around for about 1 minute. Now transfer them with a draining spoon to a plate.

Add the butter to the pan at the same heat, then add the pears and sauté them for about 2-3 minutes on each side until they are nicely brown. Next, drain the pears on kitchen paper, arrange them on a plate and keep them warm.

 After that, make the sauce.

To do this, place the crème fraîche in a small saucepan with the rest of the Roquefort, crumbling it as you add it. Now whisk the two together over a gentle heat until the cheese begins to melt and form a sauce.

Then drop in the egg yolk and continue to whisk until the sauce thickens; don't let it reach boiling point – it should be almost there but not quite.

Next, remove the pan from the heat and leave it on one side while you divide the salad leaves between 4 serving plates.

Arrange the pears around the leaves, scatter with the walnuts, then pour the sauce over each salad.

Finish off with a sprinkling of croutons and serve straight away.

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