This Butter Lettuce and Poached Pear Salad is one of our favorite Adventures In The Kitchen cooking school recipes. I discovered this delicious salad at Citrus City Grille, in Old Towne Orange, here in California. It features a red wine poached pear, candied nuts,
You know me when I find a dish that I love, I try and recreate it for you. Often this salad is my meal when we were able to go and sit at the bar on Sunday evenings, the start to my weekend.
Now that I am cooking three meals a day, a salad is often one of my meals. It is light and can quickly be assembled. The beauty of poaching is that you can do ahead and store in the refrigerator.
How to Poach Pears
Poaching pears are easy. You can use simple water and sugar to poach but wine makes them so much better. In a saucepan that will hold the pears standing up add the wine, sugar, orange peel, juice of an orange, cinnamon, and cloves. Sometimes I throw in a star anise pod. Bring to a boil and turn the heat down to simmer. Place the peeled pears in the pan and cook over low for 20-25 minutes.
What Is Poaching?
Poaching is a cooking technique that involves cooking by submerging food in a liquid, such as water, milk, stock or wine or in a tray. Poaching cooks the food slowly at relatively low temperatures.
Best Pears to Poach
The pears should be firm. Here are the best pears to poach:
- Bosc pears are the best
- Tiny Seckel
- Red Anjou
The base of the salad is butter lettuce, is delicate and tender. It is great for everyday salads but it also makes a great base for chicken wraps.
Butter Lettuce and Poached Pear Salad
- 2 cups dry red wine such as cabernet or merlot
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 long strip orange peel 1 by 4-inch
- 1 large orange juiced (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 whole cloves
- 3 firm ripe Bosc pears
- 1/3 cup good balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoon honey
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup pecan halves and pieces
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate seeds
Combine wine, sugar, orange peel, orange juice, cinnamon stick and cloves in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.
While poaching liquid is simmering, peel pears, leaving the stem intact and being careful not to bruise the pears. Slice a small amount from the bottom of the pears to create a flat bottom if necessary so the pears stand upright.
Gently place the pears in the poaching liquid. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20-30 minutes (depending upon size), turning every 5 minutes with a slotted spoon to ensure even color. Pears should be cooked but still firm. Cool at room temperature, turning occasionally to ensure even color.
Let cool and slice.
Whisk together vinaigrette ingredients. Adjust with honey, salt and pepper as desired. Set aside
Heat the butter in a small non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Add the pecans and the sugar and cook, stirring often until the pecans begin to brown slightly. (They can burn very quickly!) Transfer to a plate spread out slightly (it’s okay if they’re touching) and let cool.