There’s an excellent reason for this photo! It’s probably the best blue cheese I’ve ever eaten, hands down. We discovered it at Neal’s Yard in London and were completely blown away! There are many fabulous artisanal blue cheese available at fine cheese shops. If you’ve made some of my salads, you’ll see I like combining pears and apples with blue cheeses! Duck confit is available at shops that make and sell charcuterie and even at some speciality butchers. At one time we made our own as it was impossible to find them anywhere.
Makes 4 Servings
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. Sherry vinegar
5 Tbsp. EVO
2 Tbsp. finely chopped shallot
½ cup pecans, coarsely chopped
2 duck confit legs
3 firm-ripe Anjou or Barlett pears, preferably red ones
8 cups mixed greens, such as frisee, tender watercress sprigs & baby spinach leaves
2 oz. crumbled Roquefort or other blue cheese
Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 250 F.
Whisk together mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Very slowly whisk in 4 Tbsp. EVO in a slow stream, whisking constantly until emulsified; (ingredients will come together forming a thickened, shiny dressing); whisk in shallot. Set the dressing aside while you make the salad.
Heat the remaining tablespoon of EVO in a 10” heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook pecans, stirring, until golden brown. Transfer the nuts with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain; season to taste with salt.
Heat the skillet, with any oil remaining in it, over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown duck on all sides until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and tear the meat into bite-size pieces, discarding the bones. Keep duck warm, covered, on a baking sheet in the oven.
Halve and core the pears; cut length-wise into ¼” slices. Arrange the greens on 4 dinner plates, place the pear slices on top of the greens followed by the duck, cheese & pecans. Drizzle each salad with the dressing, serve immediately.
Tip: using a melon baller makes quick & neat work when coring pears.