Spiced Pear and Goat Cheese Salad. A starter with a wow factor or a super-sophisticated light lunch.
This is one of my absolutely favourite recipes and it doesn’t matter how much of it I make… it disappears as quickly as I can say “spiced pear and goat cheese salad”. See? It’s gone again. Now I have to make some more.
Unlike apples, pears can be somewhat tired-tasting when roasted, even with the most generous amount of cinnamon. But this combination of crushed coriander seeds, cinnamon, orange and red wine vinegar turns the pear into the most sensational fruit ever. Combine it with the saltiness of goats cheese, the crunch of toasted almonds and a mountain of health-inducing rocket, spinach and watercress leaves and you have a taste explosion that’s one of a kind.
Spiced pear and goat cheese salad is the kind of dish you whisk out when your mind has gone numb from preparing all those meals other (smaller) family members have been shouting for. Or, like in my case, when you have to convince yourself that your mind is not numb, but you are indeed a sophisticated and refined person with sophisticated and refined tastes.
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Spiced Pear and Goat Cheese Salad
A starter for 6 with a wow factor or a super-sophisticated light lunch for 4.
- 3 pears cored and quartered
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp coarsely ground coriander seeds
- 1/2 tsp mixed spice
- juice of 1 orange
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 100 g rocket/watercress/spinach leaves
- 150 g goat cheese crumbled
- 50 g Parmesan shaved
- handful of parsley leaves roughly chopped
- 50 g almonds roasted until pale golden brown (pine nuts would also work here)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat a griddle pan and heat your oven to 200 Celsius.
- Mix the pears in a bowl with a splash of olive oil, salt pepper and dried spices.
- When the griddle is hot, grill the pears for 2 minutes on each side until they are beginning to caramelise.
- Transfer them to a small roasting tray and pour over the orange juice and red wine vinegar. Roast in the oven for 8 minutes, then transfer into a large bowl and allow to cool.
- Mix the extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice into the pear juices to make a dressing. Season, but remember that the cheese is salty!
- Mix the leaves with the pear quarters, Parmesan and parsley and pour over the dressing.
- Serve on a large platter and scatter over the roasted almonds (I brown them in a pan without oil on a low heat, but you could also do this in the oven) and the goat cheese.
The pears can be served warm or cold, but not so hot that they melt the cheese.