Pumpkin and apples may be the flavors of Thanksgiving, but it's pears that grace the Christmas lore and table.
To give the holiday dinner some festive color, the pears in this salad are first poached in red wine and spices. The deep scarlet color set off against peppery arugula make a perfect Christmas dinner salad.
You don't have to tell anyone it's easy, either.
Red Wine Poached Pear Salad
For the Pears
3 large winter pears, peeled, halved and cored, sliced lengthwise
2 cups red table wine or Cabernet
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
4 Szechuan peppercorns (optional, available Penzeys.com)
1 tbs. sugar
For the Salad
4 cups arugula
3 tbs. honey
1/4 cup total of sliced almonds, walnuts and pecans
3 oz. bleu cheese crumbles
2 tsp. lemon juice
Heat the wine, sugar, lemon juice and spices in a sauce pot. Add the sliced pears, cover pot, leaving partially uncovered. Simmer for 40 minutes. Let cool. Remove pears and spices. Place pot back on heat and reduce to a thick syrup.
When pears are room temperature, slice and arrange on top of arugula. Drizzle on the red wine syrup and honey. Sprinkle with bleu cheese and the nuts.