Grilled Pear Salad with Warm Bacon Viniagrette
(Yield: 2 servings)
(published in Heat Magazine)
¼ cup halved pecans
½ tablespoon butter, melted
pinch cayenne (about an 1/8 teaspoon)
pinch ground cloves
pinch of sugar
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 thick slabs hickory smoked bacon
1 red Anjou pear, cored, and cut into segments
1 lime, juiced
2 teaspoons of honey, divided
½ teaspoon minced shallot
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
¼ teaspoon Dijon
2 cups baby spinach greens
2 tablespoons goat cheese
Preheat your oven to 350. In a small bowl mix pecans with butter, cayenne, cloves, and sugar. Toast pecans until just browned (about 5 minutes). Remove pecans from oven and sprinkle with salt. Now, arrange your thick cut bacon on a grilling sheet over a pan (which will collect the grease). Bake bacon about 10 minutes until nice and crispy. Crumble bacon and reserve 1 tablespoon of its cooking oil.
Next, on a preheated oiled grill or on a grilling pan, arrange pear segments to get diagonal grill marks. In a small bowl mix lime juice and honey and brush onto pears. Grill 2-3 minutes per side.
To make vinaigrette, mix reserved bacon oil, remaining honey, shallot, cider vinegar, and Dijon until fully combined. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and dress salad greens (you may have some leftover vinaigrette).
Assemble salad by first laying down greens, then dividing the crumbled bacon and goat cheese evenly. Top with toasted, spiced pecans and grilled pears. Add a touch more freshly ground pepper if desired.