The other day, I got a bunch of pears in my CSA box. Anyone who knows me knows that I hate pears. I usually have no idea what to do with them and they often go bad before I get a chance to use them. I might eat them when they're still new and under ripe, but not once they become ripe. Asian pears are different, but I really hate traditional Bosc or Anjou pears. I decided to try something new with this pears in my CSA box. I enjoy poached pears with goat cheese or as desserts. I like fancy entrée salads (this can also be a super fancy first course salad with less mixed greens, it's really up to you).
This combined the great crunch of puff pasty, the tang of goat cheese and the sweat/salty/spicy flavor profile of the honey spiced almonds. It was simple yet delicious. I highly recommend it for your next dinner party or, just the next time you have pears. I also recommend these almonds with just about anything.
Puff Pastry Wrapped Pear Salad
- 2 Anjou or Bartlett pears, cut in half and seeds removed
- 1 sheet of puff pastry, cut into 4 pieces
- handful of honey spiced almonds (see below)
- soft goat cheese
- egg (for egg wash)
- mixed greens
- desired vinaigrette dressing (I used an apricot white balsamic, but a champagne vinegar would also be nice)
- Dried cranberries, prunes or other desired fruit.
- Place pears, cut side down, on silpat mat and cover with puff pastry, stretching slightly so it covers pear completely. Trim away excess and use to make leaves or other fun shapes. Cut a couple slits to vent
- Brush the pastry with egg wash and bake at 425 until golden brown and puffed. The pears will steam inside the pastry and soften slightly. Remove from oven when done and allow to cool slightly
- Just before serving, toss mixed greens with dressing, dried fruit and nuts. Remove to individual plates and top with the warm pear. Fill the hole in the pear with soft goat cheese and add additional to the salad as desired.
Honey Spiced Almonds
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 1/2 cup whole almonds
- 1 Tbsp water
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1 tsp olive oil
- Toast almonds in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes until golden and fragrant.
- Meanwhile, mix sugar, salt and cayenne pepper together in a large bowl.
- Dissolve water, honey and oil together in a nonstick skillet and bring to a simmer.
- Add hot toasted nuts to the pan and toss until nuts are coated evenly.
- Add nuts to the sugar mixture and toss until coated. Spread onto a baking sheet and cool completely.