Pear And Roquefort Salad With Cranberry-Dijon Vinaigrette And A Giveaway

Pear and Roquefort salad

When the temperatures drop, we seem to turn to soups, stews, and comfort foods, but it's always good to have some lighter options too, like winter salads. For me, winter salads are not as easy as summer salads. I can't just fill a bag with fresh, ripe produce at the farmer's market, chop it all up, and toss it with some dressing. Winter salads require a bit more thought. To hold my attention, a winter salad needs to be colorful and flavorful and have various textures going on.

The concept for this winter salad started with a wedge of Roquefort blue cheese (sent to me by Ile de France) and some pears (sent to me by USA Pears). The timing of these two deliveries couldn't have been better, as I knew the pears and Roquefort would complement each other. I selected a Bosc pear from the assortment I received because I love its papery skin and honey-sweet flavor. And I thought that sweet flavor would prove the perfect contrast to the creamy, pungent Roquefort. Now I just needed to figure out what else would go with them and fit my need for a flavorful, colorful, textured salad.

Some toasted walnuts seemed obvious, caramelized onions would add a sweet-savory note, and bacon would pitch in a needed crunch and saltiness.

Pear and Roquefort salad

Flavor and texture resolved, my salad still needed a pop of color. So I whipped up a tangy cranberry-Dijon vinaigrette to top it off.

Pear and Roquefort salad

Pear And Roquefort Salad With Cranberry-Dijon Vinaigrette

Use as much or as little of each ingredient as you like to tailor your salad to you and your guests. This is merely a guide. I made myself a dinner-size salad and found a generous handful of greens, 2 tablespoons of walnuts, 1/2 a pear, 2 tablespoons onions, 1 slice of bacon, and 1/2 ounce of Roquefort to be satisfying.


Mesclun greens
Toasted walnuts
Thinly sliced Bosc pear
Caramelized onions
Cooked, crumbled bacon
Ile de France Roquefort blue cheese, crumbled or chopped
Cranberry-Dijon vinaigrette (recipe below)


Divide mesclun greens among plates. Scatter walnuts over greens. Layer sliced pear over greens. Toss onions, bacon, and Roquefort on top. Drizzle cranberry-Dijon vinaigrette over each salad.

Cranberry-Dijon Vinaigrette (adapted from Food.com)
Makes about 3/4 cup to 1 cup dressing


1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup O Cabernet Vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper


Combine cranberries, sugar, and vinegar in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring and smashing cranberries occasionally, until cranberries start to pop, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Transfer cranberry mixture to bowl of food processor. Add mustard and orange juice, and process until smooth, about 30 seconds.

Slowly stream in oil while food processor is running.

Transfer dressing to small carafe or measuring cup, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Dressing can be covered and stored in refrigerator for 1 week. (Recipe can easily be doubled.)

Pear and Roquefort salad

And now for the giveaway. Not only were the people at Ile de France kind enough to send me a wedge of their new Roquefort blue cheese to sample, but they're also giving 5 of you the opportunity to win a cheese basket!

To enter, just leave a comment telling me your favorite cheese or what you would do with a wedge of Roquefort. Would you make a Roquefort butter to flavor a steak? Would you simply top a piece of toast with the Roquefort and drizzle some honey on top? Would you make a winter salad like I did? Be sure to check out Ile de France's website for more ideas and for more information about Roquefort blue cheese.

You have until 11:59 p.m. EST on Wednesday, December 14, 2011, to enter. Good luck!

I've got another great winter salad using more Roquefort coming up!