While green salads are great, I’m frequently looking for something…a bit different.  And since salads can be composed of just about anything, you don’t have to look too far.  In this recipe video I make a simple salad from pear, gorgonzola cheese, walnuts, and endive.  The pear, walnut and blue cheese are a classic combination, and taste really great together.  I find the endive has the perfect texture and crunch to stand up to the other ingredients, and the shape allows you to create little “boats” for the salad, which makes this perfect for a party.

Recipe Overview and Keys to Success

Here are few cooking tips I’d like you to be aware of for this recipe:

  1. As with any dish, but certainly for the raw/uncooked recipes, use the best ingredients you can find.  If the endive doesn’t look good, find some romaine, or radicchio, or something else.  You can’t make bad ingredients taste good.
  2. This salad (and most others) is all about balance.  You need the right amount of each ingredient so that they play nicely together and don’t overpower one another.  Sure I love blue cheese, but if you use a pound of it…all you’ll taste is blue cheese.  The amounts I have below are guidelines, and feel free to make adjustments for your own tastes, but  you want to make sure you taste each component…including the dressing.
  3. As I mention above, this is a great party salad.  And, it’s easy to prepare the salad a few hours in advance, and keep it in the fridge.  But I’d hold off on filling the “boats” until about 20 minutes before serving.

Ingredients for Pear, Gorgonzola and Walnut Salad (for 2)

  • 2 endive
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons gorgonzola – crumbled
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons toasted walnuts
  • 1 pear diced (I leave the skin on, but you can remove if desired)
  • One scallion – finely chopped
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette
  • 1 tablespoon finely diced and sautéed bacon lardons
  • Salt and pepper

Making the Salad

  • Finely chop a slice of bacon or pancetta, and sauté until crispy; remove to a paper towel to drain
  • Toast the walnuts in a 250 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes; set aside to cool
  • Make the balsamic vinaigrette and set aside
  • Carefully remove the outer layers of the endive by snapping them off at the base.  You should get 5 – 7 pieces per endive before they become very small
  • Wrap the leaves in a moist paper towel and stash in the fridge
  • Dice the remaining core of the endive into small pieces, and put them in a mixing bowl; discard the route end
  • Dice a pear, and add to the bowl
  • Finely chop the green parts of two scallions
  • Add the crumbled gorgonzola, bacon, walnuts, scallions, and about a tablespoon of dressing
  • Season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine
  • Taste the filling, and add more seasoning, or vinaigrette if needed
  • Spoon the filling into the endive leaves we pulled off earlier and line them up on a serving tray or plate
  • Serve and enjoy!!

This is a great summer/spring salad that has a ton of flavor and texture.  It’s great with a nice crisp chardonnay or sauvignon blanc.  Hope you enjoy it, and leave me a comment to let me know how it goes.