Soft goat's cheese and pears poached in some beautiful red wine, port and sherry make a wonderful salad. It's a little bit sweet, a little bit savoury.
- 3 cups dry red wine
- 3 cups port
- ½ cup fine sherry
- ¼-½ cup sugar, to taste
- 1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 whole cloves
- 2 Bosc pears, peeled with stems attached
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1½ tbsp (30 ml) tarragon white wine vinegar or white wine vinegar
- ¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cups wild rocket (arugula)
- 1 cup frisée lettuce
- ¼ cup fresh Italian parsley leaves
- 55 g (2 oz) fresh Spanish goat's cheese, cut into small bite-size wedges
- 1-2 tbsp roasted marcona almonds (see Note)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Cooling time: 1-2 hours
- To poach pears, place red wine, port, sherry, sugar, nutmeg, and cloves in a medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat to dissolve sugar.
- Remove core from base of pears using a melon baller while keeping pears intact. Add pears to wine mixture, bring to a simmer, and cook gently for 20 minutes, or until tender. Cut pears in half and return to poaching liquid. Cover and refrigerate until cold (see Note). Remove pears from liquid, transfer to a plate and keep cool.
- Place ¼ cup of poaching liquid in small aucepan. Boil until reduced to form a syrup. Set aside to cool completely.
- To make salad, combine shallots and vinegar in small bowl. Slowly add oil while whisking constantly to blend. Season vinaigrette with salt and pepper.
- Cut poached pear halves into thin wedges.
- Toss rocket, frisee and parsley in large bowl with enough dressing to coat lightly. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Arrange salad on a platter with pears and cheese. Coarsely grate almonds over salad. Drizzle port syrup over salad and serve.
• Marcona are a Spanish almond. They are available from specialist retailers in Australia, but you can use other almonds. You can also roughly chop the almonds rather than grating them.
• Pears can be poached 1 day ahead. Store pears in poaching liquid and refrigerate.