Spring Greens with Candied Walnuts, Sauteed Pears, Gorgonzola and a Raspberry Pomegranate Glaze

The Poached Pears, Candied Walnut and Gorgonzola Salad is my all time favorite! I was first introduced to this yummy delicacy a few years ago at my favorite Italian restaurant here in Temecula,"Gourmet Italia". So it's no wonder I make it for every holiday meal.. sometimes changing it a bit with pecans or pine nuts.. or subbing the fruit for strawberries or apples. But this weekend I decided to play with the Balsamic glaze and pears.

I was a fortunate recipient of a case of POM wonderful pomegranate juice. I have loved using this juice in a variety of recipes and look forward to posting some more of them here later. But over the weekend with a few extra bottles on hand, and a newly purchased bottle of Raspberry infused Balsamic vinegar I thought I would change the glaze for my salad, and saute my pears instead of poaching them in red wine. I really like poached pears but they are a little more time consuming and I wanted our weekend Easter dinner to be less complicated and free from me being in the kitchen for days. I have to say, I think I will saute my pears more often now.. the caramelization of the pears sauteed in wine and butter were excellent! They didn't need anything else, although I think a sprinkling of cinnamon might be a nice addition next time to go with the earthy flavors of the walnuts.

The reduction of POM wonderful with the Raspberry Balsamic was also a great combination. Alone, the balsamic was still a bit too tart and the sweetness of the pomegranate juice heightened the flavor and thickness perfectly.

I doubled the recipe for the candied walnuts because a salad like this for just one day is never quite enough and you need so little of the glaze drizzled on your dish to enhance your salad that leftovers extend for a few days in my household. I hope you all had a wonderful Easter celebration! Spring is here and I can't wait to start lighter cooking fare.
Ciao and Buon Appetito!

Raspberry Pomegranate Balsamic Glaze
Mix 1 bottle Raspberry infused Balsamic Vinegar with 1/2 bottle POM Wonderful into a small stainless-steel saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce to medium low at a constant slow simmer. Reduce to 1/4 cup, or until the vinegar turns to a glaze.
Leave at room temperature for a few minutes to slightly cool before pouring in a plastic squeeze bottle. Keep in the refrigerator.
Before use, set the squeeze bottle of the reduced vinegar out until it comes to room temperature. To decorate, drizzle the balsamic vinegar reduction around the plated food or over the plate.

Candied Walnuts
1 cup walnut halves
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 325° F .
2. Place walnuts on a baking sheet and toast 10 to 15 minutes or until golden.
3. Combine honey, water and oil in a skillet and bring to boil.
4. Reduce heat to medium and stir in walnuts. Cook, stirring frequently until all liquid has evaporated, about 1 minute.
5. Transfer nuts to a bowl.
6. Combine sugar and salt and toss with nuts. Spread nuts on a cookie sheet to cool and dry.
7. Store in an airtight container.

Gorgonzola Cheese
Gorgonzola is usually served as a dessert cheese, but there are some local culinary specialities that it goes well with. For instance, it may be melted into a risotto in the final stage of cooking. Another fairly traditional dish sees Gorgonzola served alongside polenta. Because of its savory flavor, it is often used in salads as this recipe calls for, and makes an awesome accompaniment with such fruit as pears.

Sauteed Pears
3 almost ripe Bartlett Pears
1 tsp. butter
2 Tbsp white wine

It's important that the pears aren't too soft. They should be a little on the firm side so that they do not get to soft during cooking.
Cut pears into cubes. Heat up a saute pan. Add butter and pears, saute until a glaze forms and they start to color. Add wine and saute for a few more minutes till liquid is evaporated.

Salad Mix
5 oz. Spring greens
1/2 cup torn radicchio


Sara said...

I made a POM vinaigrette the other day too! This looks like a great salad.

Megan said...

Pears, Gorgonzola, and candied walnuts? I know this is a great salad.
I made a Pom balsamic reduction but I bet that raspberry infused vineger made an even better one.
Blessings my friend! You rock!

girlichef said...

What a gorgeous salad...i love everything in it! I need to put my POM to use...argh :)

The Food Hunter said...

This salad looks great. I've never used POM before. I'll have to give it a try.

Proud Italian Cook said...

Mmmm, Outstanding Laurie, I recieved some POM too, I'm going to do that reduction ASAP!!

Anonymous said...

Did everyone get some POM but me? :(
Hey Laurie! You just keep titling your salads with really long names..I'll just eat them! LOL
Everything you make is beautiful!

The Blonde Duck said...

This salad looks fabulous! Love the candied walnuts!

Anonymous said...

Candied walnuts? We're in!

Claudia said...

This is beautiful and just the thing after a heavy Easter meal. Making it tonight! Maybe substitute strawberries for pears and am good to go.

Kim -@ the Paper Apron said...

Beautiful closeup! The salad looks mouth-watering!

CaptnRachel aka Tha Pizza Cutta said...

I recently had a pear and chevre salad with greens at a big to-do restaurant that doesn't come close to your sald. So, when are you opening a restaurant?
Plus, thanks for watching me and my big bro's video!! Food Network wasn't impressed but at least we got to share some our of true food adventures with friends!!

Lori Lynn said...

The salad sounds fabulous. That POM is such a great ingredient, the pairing with raspberry balsamic is a fabulous idea! I saw pear infused white balsamic the other day, don't know why I didn't buy it, I might try your recipe with that next time.

Lori Lynn said...

Whoo! Hoo!
I just saw the Quaker ad on my blog! How cool! I am so excited for you!

Celine's Cuisine said...

Spring is in the air. I love your salad... still I need to try to use Gorgonzola more often. I always saute my pears or apples the way my mom does it too ( not wine ), I love candied walnut they are crunchy and sweet! Lovely combination. The question is should I visit "Gourmet Italia" or come to your house for tasting it?
Laurie, Congrats for being the winner of be delighted flavor of the month! This is so great But I am not surprised at all!
I am still working on Foodbuzz trying to understand the "subject" and purpose of it.. I need help ...

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Wow, that does look like and awesome salad and I love the POM in the dressing. Delicious!

Jo said...

What an absolutely delicious looking salad recipe. I surely have to give this a try.

Donna-FFW said...

This sounds delicious with the candided walnuts, love the ideaof using POM as a viniagrette.

Anonymous said...

Yummy post!Thank you for sharing this wonderful information about pomegranate with us. With all this buzz about superfriuts flying around I feel it is very important for us to know in detail what we consume. Looking forward to see more posts like this from you.

Karen said...

Ooooh - this sounds really good!

lisaiscooking said...

This is just a great combination of flavors. I love pears with greens and gorgonzola, and the vinaigrette sounds great!