Ok, to the melody of Simon & Garfunkel’s classic “Bridge Over Troubled Water”—
When You’re craving salad, feeling tired,
When boring options are in your eyes
This recipe will feed your senses
SmokinLicious® is on your side…
All kidding aside, here’s a flavorful blueprint that will take salad to another taste stratosphere- Smoked Pear Salad with Gorgonzola!
This is a very simple salad once you’ve followed our segment on smoking fresh pears. With pears in season during the colder months, it’s a great time to get your serving of greens. So, let’s get started with what you will need for Smoke Pear Salad with Gorgonzola:
• 1/2 cup of Gorgonzola cheese
• 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
• 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar – I prefer a flavor infused one – I am using Tangerine balsamic vinegar but anything in the citrus line would work well
• 1 head of lettuce in my case, I am using Boston lettuce
• Fresh pepper
• ½ cup of SmokinLicious®Minuto® Wood Chips Size #6
Preparing the Salad:
Taking your previously smoked pear halves, time to remove the skin and prepare to cut these for the salad. Now, this is where you need to make some decisions on how you want your salad to look. You can either slice the pears to add to whole Boston or Romaine lettuce leaves or you can cube them to add to chopped lettuce. I will be chopping my lettuce and cubing my smoked pears. Ideal sizing is ½ inch thickness for your pears to provide the right balance between the boldness of the smoked pear and the savory bite of the gorgonzola. I’ll be balancing the two out with my vinaigrette.
Boston lettuce is ideal for forming its own bowl and is an ideal choice for this pear salad. If you want to use the leaves whole, lay 1-2 for a good personal size salad. I am chopping my lettuce for a full side dish platter. Be sure to clean the lettuce and pat dry prior to using. The lettuce, if cut, should be rough cut in order to hold the pears and hold the vinaigrette.
Assembling the Salad:
Once the lettuce is cut or laid in whole leaf form to the plate, it’s time to add the cubed or sliced pear. Be sure you try to keep the pears in a single layer. Now it’s time to add the gorgonzola cheese. Depending on your preference for this very strong cheese, begin sprinkling it all around the salad or if using the lettuce as a bowl, providing an even layer of cheese. It’s that simple! Now you’ll see just how well these colors all work together. Pleasing to the eyes and mouth!
Making the Vinaigrette:
Now that the salad components are plated it’s time to prepare the vinaigrette. I like to mix my dressings in a 2-cup measuring cup in order to make it easy to add to the salad. You will need a small whisk as well. First, add 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil to the measuring cup. Then add 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar – I am using a Tangerine Infused Balsamic vinegar for a citrus flavor to this salad. To the liquids, grind some fresh ground pepper and then whisk until combined and thickened. Do not mix the vinaigrette unless you’re ready to serve the salad otherwise you’ll get a breakdown and thinning.
Here is the final component to this great salad – drizzling a tangerine vinaigrette over the smoked pears, Boston lettuce and gorgonzola. It’s your choice how much to add but just be sure you get most of the components coated with a bit or you’ll be missing out on the fantastic balance of all the flavors. Smoky depth of the pears, bite of the gorgonzola, crisp freshness of the lettuce and the tang of the oil and vinegar. A perfect way to get heartiness in a salad while enjoying the benefits of healthiness.
You know, the more I think of it, I just bet Paul Simon & Art Garfunkel would be big fans of this dish! Heck, in addition its great taste, ‘Gor-GON-zo-LA’ offers quite a syncopated rhythm opportunity! Bon appetito!