Grilled Pears with Honey and Bleu Cheese + Spinach Salad with Lemon-Garlic Vinaigrette

Mm, pears. Mm, bleu cheese. Mm, lemon vinaigrette. Some of my favorite things (alas, no chocolate?) smooshed together into one dish. It is a salad, but very filling and perfect for a light summer dinner. Most of this can be (and was) eyeballed. I love not measuring stuff. How very unscientific of me. This is why I am not a chemistry major.

Grilled Pears with Honey and Bleu Cheese + Spinach Salad with Lemon-Garlic Vinaigrette

Adapted from The Costco Connection, June 2012, p. 65

4 large, ripe Anjou or Bartlett pears

A bit of olive oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons honey

1/2 cup crumbled bleu cheese

4 cups spinach (or mesclun greens)

2/3 cup (or less) extra virgin olive oil

juice of 1/2 a lemon

a few twists of sea salt

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

zest of 1/2 a lemon

1 garlic clove, minced, or 1 teaspoon chopped garlic

Heat up your grill pan on the stovetop (or if you are feeling the grilling season, go light up your grill. I was not). Cut each pear in half lengthwise and take out the core with a teaspoon, leaving a cute little circle. Brush cut sides with olive oil. Place pears on hot grill pan; heed the sizzle and let the magic happen. For a few minutes. I didn’t really time it. Just keep watching them and let it go for as long–and soft–as you would like, for the pears to get cooked and caramelized.

Melt butter in a little glass bowl and then add honey and mix.

For vinaigrette, mix everything from 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil to garlic with a whisk and season to taste. Toss with spinach.

Ready to plate?

Add a healthy amount of spinach, and place two piping hot pear havles on top. Brush with honey butter and top with bleu cheese in the little hole (see photo). Now, I didn’t do this, but wished I had after my dad did it to his: he drizzled more honey/butter on top of the bleu cheese, which really let the honey flavor come through and melted the cheese more.

This salad was so good! Pears and spinach are full of fiber, and healthy fats in the olive oil helped make this a filling meal. As an afterthought, I would add some toasted walnuts for extra crunch and flavor. I loved the grilled pears–grilling was a  novel way to bring out flavor in this fruit (at least for me), and pears + bleu cheese is just classic. The lemon vinaigrette complemented the spinach and the sweetness of the pears really nicely as well. Now I want more.

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