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Brandied Pecan and Pear Salad

Skip the Cesar and opt for a little something more when it comes to the salad course at your next formal dinner party. Brandied nuts are taken to the next level when topped with an irresistable gorgonzola vinaigrette.

Brandied nuts with a sugary crust are a delicious accent to this exquisite salad that's full of great flavor and texture.


2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon spiced brandy
1/4 cup golden brown sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons apple juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup Gorgonzola cheese
1 head butter leaf lettuce, rinsed, torn into bite-size pieces
1 medium Bartlett pear, peeled, cored, cut in paper-thin slivers (we ordered ours from Harry & David)


Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add pecans, brown sugar, and brandy, and cook, stirring constantly, until pecans are toasted and sugar dissolves into a coating on nuts, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and scatter nuts on wax paper-lined baking sheet.

Whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, apple juice, salt and pepper. Stir in gorgonzola cheese until combined.

Place lettuce on 4 individual salad plates. Toss brandied pecans over lettuce. Arrange pear slices in a star pattern on top. Pour Gorgonzola vinaigrette over top. Serve immediately.


4 servings

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