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Sipping your way across Paarl is one of the most enjoyable ways to experience the South African Winelands.

Years ago I had this salad at a vineyard located in the town of Paarl, in the Western Cape. It sits at the base of the Drakenstein Mountains.

These Red Wine Poached Pears create a beautiful green salad that pairs perfectly with some crunchy chopped walnuts. Enjoy it with a gorgeous local Pinotage (South Africa’s signature red wine) or any wine for that matter. I am a firm believer that there are no bad wines.

I have recreated it so that I feel like I am back in the gorgeous Cape.

To quote my fellow South Africans, “Let’s graze (def… eat) this lekker (def…delicious) chow (def…food)”…

xxxx Chef MM

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Poached Pear Salad

  • Author: Melissa Mayo

Ingredients

Scale

FOR THE SALAD

  • 1 pack butter lettuce
  • 1 pack frisee/spring mix lettuce
  • 1 log goat cheese (optional)
  • 1 cup walnuts coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup radishes cut into thin slivers
  • 2 avocados cut into wedges
  • 1/4 red onion sliced into thin semi circles

FOR THE PEARS

  • 6 hard firm bosh pears peeled with stalk still on
  • 1 bottle red wine
  • ½ cup of white sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 lemon sliced

FOR THE DRESSING
½ cup white sugar
½ tspn mustard powder
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup olive oil

Instructions

FOR THE PEARS
Peel pears and leave the stem intact. In a large saucepan, bring wine and an equal amount of cold water to a simmer. Add cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, and sugar to the mixture. Add pears to liquid and simmer for about 20 minutes or until pears are fork-tender but not mushy.

Cool the pears in the wine mixture till they are at room temperature. Slice pears into rounds and restack. Set pears aside.

FOR THE DRESSING
Whisk all the ingredients for the dressing together. This can be made ahead of time ***

TO ASSEMBLE
Divide the lettuce among 6 plates. Scatter with onions, radishes, walnuts, crumbled goat cheese, and avocados. Top each salad with a stacked poached pear.
Drizzle the salad with dressing just before serving.

SERVES 6

Notes

Blanch the avocados in boiling water for 30 seconds to par-cook. This will prevent them from going black once you cut them.***You can make the pears in advance and refrigerate them in the poaching liquid until you’re ready to use them.

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I'm Melissa, your host & tour guide.

A Food Network chef, author, mamma, eternal optimist, wannabe-mermaid, spice mixologist, and “dough therapist” (yep, it’s a thing)—

I'm also the founder of Susina Cucina, the gorgeous, Italian cooking school I manifested into my reality. I’m obsessed with Aperol spritzes, travel, and mouthwatering food… especially pizza and pasta.

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