NPR logo Caramelized Pear and Red Onion Salad with Stilton Cheese


Caramelized Pear and Red Onion Salad with Stilton Cheese

Bob Sargent's pear salad. Sargent is the chef at Flora, a restaurant in Arlington, Mass. Andrew Pockrose hide caption

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Andrew Pockrose

Chef Bob Sargent, of the restaurant Flora in Arlington, Mass., shares a recipe for a crowd favorite, a salad combining pears with blue cheese:

The combination of pears (or apples) with blue cheese has been making people happy since — well, since blue cheese was invented, I imagine. Nuts are a classic accompaniment to this salad; sprinkle them on top before serving, if you wish. I like walnuts, hazelnuts or pecans best. This recipe serves eight.


2 large red onions, peeled

4 pears, almost ripe

2 bunches watercress, washed

1 head radiccio, washed

1 endive, washed

1 head frisee or curly endive, washed

2-inch wedge of Stilton (less or more to taste), crumbled

For Dressing

1 cup apple cider, reduced to ¼ cup

¼ cup red wine vinegar

1 T. Dijon mustard

1/3 cup Canola oil

1/3 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste


1- Cut onions into eighths through the root so the sections stay in one piece. Toss with salt and a splash of olive oil. Roast at 450 degrees for 10-15 minutes until brown and slightly softened.

2- Cut pears into 8 wedges each. Heat a cast iron pan over medium heat until quite hot. Add 2 T. canola oil and when smoking, add pears cut-side down. Let brown for 2-3 minutes without disturbing, then flip the pears to cook the other side. Reserve.

3- Assemble dressing: Whisk reduced cider together with mustard and vinegar, and slowly add oils while whisking.

4- Toss washed and shredded greens with half of the dressing and divide the greens among eight plates. Toss the pears and onions with the rest of the dressing and arrange on the greens. Slice or crumble cheese on top.