Happy New Year’s Eve everyone! Steve and I are the soon to be lucky guests of Trish (aka Trish’s Dish) and Rick’s for dinner this evening. I saw the menu, and they are really going all out. After my two recent holiday parties, I am ready to hang up my hostess apron and pass the spatula to Trish. We can only hope she will blog about it after.
I plan to bring some bubbly, my favorite new salad, and creamed spinach. Wishing everyone a very happy New Year!
- 1 bag of Arugula
- 2 heads of Radiccio chopped
- Candied Walnuts recipe below
- Roasted Vanilla Pears recipe below
- Pomengranite seeds
- Sherry Vanilla Vinegrette recipe below
Candied Walnuts (can be made a day or two ahead of time)
- 1 1/2 cups walnuts
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- pinch of salt
First, toast the walnuts in the oven at 350 F for about 5 minutes. Then pour the sugar into a saucepan. Stir the melting sugar with a wooden spoon. Try to break any lumps that would form.
Keep melting the sugar until it’s liquid and it has reached this beautiful amber color.
Then add the nuts into the caramel. Stir it all together quickly to cover all the nuts with the sugar mixture. As soon as the walnuts are coated, spread them out on a baking sheet. You can line the baking sheet with parchment paper. Use a fork to separate the walnuts from each other. Try to work quickly since there’s only about 30 seconds until the caramel hardens. Sprinkle the nuts with salt and let cool completely.
I made these the day before and placed them in a ziplock with wax paper.
Vanilla Roasted Pears recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 vanilla bean
- 1 1/2 pounds slightly-under-ripe, fragrant, medium pears, peeled if desired, halved though the stem and cored. I used Anjou pears, but Bosc or Bartlett work nicely too.
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 375°F. Place the sugar in a small bowl. With a thin, sharp knife, split the vanilla bean lengthwise in half and scrape out the seeds. Stir the seeds into the sugar.
Arrange the pears in a large baking dish, cut-side up. Drizzle the lemon juice evenly over the fruit, then sprinkle with the sugar. Nestle the vanilla pod among the fruit (I first slit my halves lengthwise into quarters). Pour the water into the dish. Dot each pear with some butter.
Roast the pears 30 minutes brushing them occasionally with the pan juices. Turn the pears over and continue roasting, basting once or twice, until tender and caramelized, 25 to 30 minutes longer (if the pears are small, test for doneness after 35 or 40 minutes of cooking; a paring knife poked into the thickest part of one should meet with no resistance).
For the salad, I placed the pears in tupperware and let sit until ready to serve them, reserving the liquid, vanilla beans and lemon in the pan for the salad dressing.
Don’t forget to sample one hot, as these vanilla roasted pears make a stellar dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Sherry Pear Vinaigrette
- 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- salt and pepper
- pan liquid from pears
Whisk all ingredients together.
In a large bowl, mix together arugula and radiccio, then incorporate sherry vinaigrette and mix well. At this stage I like to plate the greens, then add a handful of the candied walnuts, sliced pears and pomegranite seeds.