Ingredients

  • 1 bottle red wine (Syrah, Shiraz or Zinfandel)
  • 1 each lemon peel, removed in strips
  • 1 each vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 3 each star anise
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 4-6 each medium pears, firm but ripe, peeled with stems intact
  • 2-4 oz Maytag blue cheese (vary by preference)
  • 8 oz Mizuna
  • 8 oz Frisee
  • 1 oz hazelnuts
  • 1 t parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 T hazelnut oil
  • 1/2 T canola oil (combine with hazelnut oil)
  • to taste salt and pepper

Method

To poach pears, place the red wine , lemon peel, star anise and vanilla bean in a saucepan that is just large enough to hold the pears. You want the liquid to barely cover the pears. Bring the mixture to the boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to low. Cover the pan and cook at a very low simmer until the pears are tender when pierced with a small knife, 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of your pears. Remove the pears from the poaching liquid with a slotted spoon and place them on a plate to cool. The pears can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. 

Remove the lemon peels, star anise and vanilla bean from the poaching liquid, discarding the peel and saving the vanilla bean for another use. Then, place the pan over high heat and reduce the liquid to about 3/4 cup, concentrating the flavors of the syrup. 

To serve: 
Slice and place several pear slices on the plate. Scatter small cubes of blue cheese over pears. In a mixing bowl combine salad greens, hazelnuts, chopped parsley, and season with salt and pepper. Lightly dress salad with hazelnut/canola oil mixture and place on top of pears. Drizzle reduced wine sauce over salad.

Serves 4