Endive, blue cheese, and pear salad is a simple lunch or side salad made with everyday ingredients that come together in minutes for an easy and elegant salad.
Endive, blue cheese, and pear salad is an elegant and easy approach to eating healthfully without having it seem like penance. Quite the contrary. The melding of sweet and savory and salty and slightly tangy will have everyone complimenting you and clamoring for more.–Renee Schettler Rossi
Endive, Blue Cheese, and Pear Salad
For the salad
- 1 cup walnuts
- One (5-oz) Corella, Williams or Bartlett pear
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 Belgian endive (yellow or red variety) leaves separated
- 1/4 head frisée torn into pieces
- 7 ounces Roquefort, Gorgonzola, or other blue cheese
For the vinaigrette
- 1 medium garlic clove crushed and peeled
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
Make the salad
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Place the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until fragrant, 5 to 8 minutes. Keep careful watch as the walnuts go from not quite done to scorched quite quickly. Transfer the walnuts to a plate to cool.
- Thinly slice the pear and toss it with the lemon juice in a salad bowl. Add the walnuts, endive, and frisée. Crumble the blue cheese over the top.
Make the vinaigrette
- Using the back of a chef’s knife, mash the garlic and coarse salt into a paste. (You can also do this with a mortar and pestle.) Add the garlic paste, mustard, and lemon juice to a bowl and whisk until combined. Whisk in the olive oil in a thin stream until the dressing thickens and emulsifies.
Assemble the salad
- Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and gently toss to coat. Serve immediately.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
Full of familiar flavor combinations, this endive, blue cheese, and pear salad is an easy win. Blue cheese and pears match well together and provide a nice sweet to contrast to the slight bitterness of the endive and frisée. The walnuts add a crunch, but the real star is the dressing. The bite of the garlic and lightness of the dressing just ties the whole salad together. I used Gorgonzola dolce because I love the softness and sweetness of this cheese with pears and walnuts.
This elegant recipe had all the elements that I think make up a perfect salad: a mixture of tasty greens, a tangy dressing, sweet fruit, creamy cheese, and the buttery crunch of nuts. Salads designed around those taste and textures, to me, are always a hit. And keeping those elements in mind when designing a menu make the possibilities for salad combinations endless! If it’s summer, use fresh berries, check to see what cheese you have in the fridge, what nuts are in the pantry, so-on-and-so forth. But back to the recipe at hand! I used a combination of yellow endive and curly endive for the greens. I had some crumbled Gorgonzola in the fridge and walnuts in the pantry and the pear variety I used was a ripe, yellow Bartlett. I actually did not whisk in the oil as said; I put everything in a Mason jar and shook it until it emulsified, which took about 30 seconds. Overall, a lovely salad that I think would be wonderful with some radicchio as well–and if you couldn’t find ripe pears, I could see the elements working well with dried figs swapped in instead.
Take some lovely ingredients, put them together, and get a salad that is oh so much better than the sum of its parts. I love the combination of pears and blue cheese, so this was a no-brainer for me to make. The frisée I bought was quite bitter but the sweetness of the pear offset it beautifully. I love a vinaigrette that’s made with lemon juice like this one is, and it was perfect to dress the ingredients as it added a brightness to the salad. Everything fits together beautifully. The different textures—soft, crispy, crunchy, creamy, and, if you time it right, served when the walnuts are still warm, you have an added bonus in the different temperatures. This recipe is one that I will make again for us to enjoy, and it will be impressive as something to serve for company. I find that pasting garlic on a cutting board, by crushing the clove(s) of garlic, sprinkling the salt on top, and then working the salt into the garlic, works much better for me than trying to smush it together in a bowl with the back of a spoon.
Originally published February 23, 2018