Warm Pear and Walnut Salad with Roquefort Dressing and Croutons

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From Delia Online by Delia Smith

Serves 4 as a light lunch

Ingredients:

2 hard dessert pears
40 g walnut pieces
150 g Roquefort cheese
1 tbsp walnut oil
10 g butter
2 rounded tbsp crème fraîche
1 large egg yolk
2 x 60 gm bags herb salad or equivalent

For the croutons:

50 g bread, cut into small cubes
1 dessertspoon olive oil

Method:

You will also need a solid baking sheet and a large frying pan.

1.Begin by making the croutons: first of all, place 10 g of the Roquefort in a bowl and, using a fork, blend it with the olive oil. Now add the cubes of bread and toss them around thoroughly to get an even coating. Then spread them out on the baking sheet and pop them into the oven for 10-12 mins or until they are evenly brown. Best to put a timer on to remind you! The croutons can be made well in advance.
2.When you are ready to serve the salad, first cut the pears into quarters, remove the cores but leave the skins on, then cut each quarter into 4 slices. Next, heat the walnut oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and lightly sauté the walnuts, tossing them around for about 1 minute. Now transfer them with a draining spoon to a plate. Add the butter to the pan at the same heat, then add the pears and sauté them for about 2-3 mins on each side until they are nicely brown. Next, drain the pears on kitchen paper, arrange them on a plate and keep them warm.
3.After that, make the sauce. To do this, place the crème fraîche in a small saucepan with the rest of the Roquefort, crumbling it as you add it. Now whisk the two together over a gentle heat until the cheese begins to melt and form a sauce. Then drop in the egg yolk and continue to whisk until the sauce thickens; don’t let it reach boiling point – it should be almost there but not quite.
4.Next, remove the pan from the heat and leave it on one side while you divide the salad leaves between 4 serving plates. Arrange the pears around the leaves, scatter with the walnuts, then pour the sauce over each salad. Finish off with a sprinkling of croutons and serve straight away.

La Femme
What a delicious salad, a bit of a fussy preparation for the dressing when you are trying to entertain guests but well worth it when you taste the result.

Wine Matching
We had a rather ambitious line-up of wines to taste so this combined many of the taste requirements; fruity, nutty, blue cheese saltiness and crunchy texture.  Traditional sparklings, late harvest and even fortified wines on the Advanced sparkling and sweet week each worked in their own way.  A pretty good match!

Le Vin
M & S, Vintage Cava, (Macabeo/Parellada/Xarel-lo), Penedes, Spain, 2009, MYR79

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