Plank Roasted Pear Salad with Blue Cheese and Walnuts
Plank-roasting over high heat gives pears a richer flavor. Serve plank-roasted pears over dressed greens, on their own with a red wine and cheeses or as a dessert with a glass of port and mascarpone or Brie. Have a spray bottle of water handy in case the plank catches fire; just be careful not to douse the pears with water.
2 cedar, alder or oak grilling planks, soaked in water for 1 hour before using
4 large, ripe Anjou or Bartlett pears
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons wildflower or other amber honey
½ cup crumbled blue cheese
Fresh thyme sprigs for garnish
4 cups mixed salad greens
¼ cup Lemon Caesar Vinaigrette
Lemon Caesar Vinaigrette
2⁄3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons anchovy paste
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 garlic clove, minced
Prepare a hot fire in your grill. Whisk together ingredients for Lemon Caesar Vinaigrette and set aside.
Cut the pears in half lengthwise, leaving the stems intact. Using a sturdy teaspoon or a melon baller, remove the core from each half. Place the pear halves on a baking sheet, cut side up. If necessary, trim the pears so they lie flat without rocking. In a bowl, mix the melted butter and honey. Brush the honey mixture over the cut surface of the pears. Sprinkle the pears with the crumbled blue cheese.
Place the planks on the grill grate and close the lid. When the planks start to smoke and pop, after 3 to 5 minutes, open the lid and turn the planks over, using grill tongs. Quickly place the pear halves on the planks, cut side up. Cover and plank-roast for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the pears are scorched around the edges and the cheese has melted. Garnish with thyme sprigs and serve alongside mixed greens tossed with ¼ cup Lemon Caesar Vinaigrette. Makes 4 to 8 servings.
Variation: Plank-roasting in the oven
Preheat the oven to 450 F. Place the prepared pears on the planks and place the planks in the middle of the oven. Plank-roast for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the pears are scorched around the edges.