When you think of fall flavors, what foods come to mind? For me, images of pears, apples, pumpkins and squash dance before my eyes shouting for attention - Pick me! Pick me! Although each of those dancing ingredients presents plenty of playful options, pears are what interest me the most for this recipe. And with the colorful months of autumn upon us, I am inspired to do a creative, colorful salad featuring seasonal Bosc pears.
To add a twist to the poached pears, I’ve taken a traditional dessert poached pear recipe and modified to be a more savory version for this salad recipe. For the optional salmon lox, visit your local grocery market to purchase an already prepared high-quality lox. If you want to really impress your guests, you can take the extra time to make your own sockeye salmon lox for the salad - follow this link to one of my lox recipes.
The salad is designed with a thin diagonal line across the center of the plate. This leaves a lot of “white space” around the salad, which helps accentuate the beauty of the salad and really helps to make the colors come alive before your eyes. And lastly, the drops of chive oil add an extra visual flair as well as flavor. I especially like the artistic plate presentation on this dish.
Preparing the beets and radishes
1–2 raw candy cane beets (Chioggia beets): washed and peeled, shave 12 slices using a knife or mandolin
1-2 raw baby yellow beets: washed and peeled, shave 12 slices using a knife or mandolin
3-4 raw radishes: washed and shave 12 slices using a knife or mandolin
Ingredients for the poached pears
4 cups chardonnay
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
2 each bay Leaves
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 spring fresh thyme
2 each Bosc pears; peeled, halved, cored
Preparing the poached pears
Combine the chardonnay, sugar, whole black peppercorns, bay leaves, fennel seeds and spring of fresh thyme into a large sauce pot. Place the pot on medium heat and bring to simmer. Once the sugar is dissolved, add the pears and cover with a lint-free towel to keep the pears submerged. Simmer at about 180 degrees F heat until tender.
The pears are done when a toothpick can be inserted into them with little resistance, which is similar to testing a baked potato. Remove the pears from the liquid and place them on a plate in the refrigerator until they are chilled. Slice into 20 pieces when ready to serve.
Ingredients for chive oil (optional)
1 cup fresh chives (or Scallion greens)
½ cup olive oil (not extra virgin)
Pinch sea salt
Making the chive oil
Combine the chives and olive oil in a blender (VitaMix works best!) and mix on high until incorporated. Add sea salt to taste. Strain through a fine sieve. To serve, pour oil into a squeeze bottle or a sterile eye dropper to place the chive oil dots on each plate.
Ingredients for the salad
28 each spring mix leaves (include some red colored ones)
24 slices Salmon Lox (optional)
20 slices poached Bosc pear
2 ounces micro greens
20 each blueberries
12 slices baby candy cane beets (Chioggia beets)
12 slices baby yellow beets 12 slices radish
1 tablespoon lemon vinaigrette
40 drops chive oil (optional)
Making the salad
• Arrange about 7 leaves of the spring mix greens diagonally on each plate, leaving about 1 inch of white space at the lower left and upper right corners.
• If adding the salmon lox, roll each slice in a loop. Place 4 slices on top of the greens on each plate. Add 5 poached pear slices to each plate. Divide about ¾ of the micro greens between the 4 plates. Add the remaining 2 slices of salmon Lox to each plate. Sprinkle 5 blueberries on each plate.
• Garnish with a small amount of micro greens, the shaved beet and radish slices.
•Drizzle salad with about 2 teaspoons of the lemon vinaigrette.
Optional: Add 5 drops of chive oil along the side of the salad (see photo)
Ingredients for the lemon vinaigrette (prepare right before serving)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup pomace olive oil
Pinch sea salt
Making the vinaigrette
In a medium bowl, add the lemon juice, olive oil and sea salt. Whisk until incorporated.
About Chef Buchanan
Chef David Buchanan has been at the helm of Blackfish Wild Salmon Grill and Bar at the Four Diamond Tulalip Resort Casino since the restaurant’s inception in 2008. Buchanan is also the owner/chef contributor/researcher of Chefs-Resources.com website and he is considered to be a Pacific Northwest culinary expert in his field.