Fresh Pear & Brie Salad with Blackberry Vinaigrette

*note* This recipe is dedicated to my bf who sat there with her 3 month old {patiently} waiting while I made this salad. What should have only taken me 15 minutes, took me 45… I blame the orange. {I’ll explain later}

BTW!!?? Thanksgiving is literally right around the corner! Can you believe it? And you know what that means… turkey, pecan pie and Black Friday shopping {I capitalize “Black Friday” because, to me, it’s a holiday all in itself!}. Which hopefully means those hilarious Target commercials will be airing soon… you knooooow the ones with that psycho blond lady?! “Merry GPSmas!”

Anywho… Eeeek… I’m so excited I can barely stand it! To be honest I’m not sure what I look forward to more… family, turkey or watching grown adults fight their way into Wal-mart for a stinking 5 dollar Barbie. I mainly go to people watch. It’s totally worth getting up at 4am for… trust me on this… I’m a professional Black Friday shopper… outfit and all.

So while most Thanksgiving side dishes can be heavy, rich and loaded with butter and cream {which I totally love and respect}… maybe add a salad this year. Maybe add this salad!! Why? Because it’s bright, fresh and scrumptious, not to mention the dressing makes a lot so you can pour it on any leftover brie that you may have and eat it with a spoon…  That’s what I did {spoon is optional}. ;) And if you don’t make this for Thanksgiving… promise me you make it for lunch tomorrow… do it! Now put on your shades… you’ll need them for all the color that’s about to happen…


I was inspired by a salad my friend ordered at a restaurant, it was a little different… okay a lot different… but it had blackberries and Brie in it! Oh how I love Brie! So while I was wondering the isles of my grocery store… I picked up a few of the ingredients, invited my best friend over and made us this salad. We both had two helpings… and marveled in the combination of creamy Brie, fresh pear and blackberries. Oh and the secret to this salad? A little kosher salt on the pears… freakin’ goooooooooood {promise}.


So on top of my friends salad were whole blackberries. I do love blackberries… but the size and their texture kind of gross me out. I’d tell you what they remind me of, but you might not look at blackberries the same… and I can’t do that to you. Nope… I can’t. I WON’T!


So instead I made them into a vinaigrette! Throw a carton or a cup of blackberries into a food processor. If you don’t have a mini one by now… what’s wrong with you? jk love ya!!


Blitz them until it looks like jelly. Or… never mind.


Press them through a mesh strainer to catch those nasty seeds and discard. Now… who sees the heart?


You should be left with a smooth blackberry puree.


Add in the white wine vinegar, honey, thyme, kosher salt, black pepper and orange zest. Funny thing… when I was zesting the orange… I must have thought it’d be a good idea to rest the orange on my micro-plane and like a sack of bricks it fell into my dressing and sending my micro plane into the air… creating, well something that looks like…


A murder scene. True story.


But I pressed on… and took my anger out on the orange by cutting it in half and squeezing the life out of it. Ahhh… I felt much better.


Whisk all those together…


This is the tough part. My right arm can attest to it… SLOWLY and I mean S-L-O-W-L-Y stream in the olive oil and whisk the bejesus out of it!!


Set the dressing aside and quarter a pear. I do a quarter a pair per person, usually.


Remove the center core…


And slice thin pieces of pear.


Brie. I love Brie. Baked, not baked… I don’t care I love it. {Do I have to capitalize Brie???}


Unroll it. Obvi!? Don’t freak about the white edible wax… it’s, ahem… edible.


Slice into disks. discs? Whichever, you can leave them like this, or break them up and scatter. I like’em whole… but that’s because I have a crazy obsession with Brie and the more Brie the better!


Create your salad by layering, lettuce, Brie, pears {sprinkle the pears with a little kosher/sea salt} and top with toasted walnuts… {trust me on the whole salting of the pears thing!}


…and FINALLY drizzle with the blackberry dressing. I could seriously drink this stuff.


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Fresh Pear & Brie Salad with Blackberry Vinaigrette

Yield: 8

Prep Time: 20

Total Time: 20

Ingredients:

FOR THE VINAIGRETTE {makes 1-1/2 cups}

1 cup fresh or thawed blackberries {fresh recommended}

1/4 cup White Wine Vinegar

Juice and Zest of half an Orange

2 teaspoons Honey

A pinch of dried Thyme

1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt {more or less to taste}

1/4 teaspoon Fresh Ground Black Pepper {more or less to taste}

3/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

FOR THE SALAD

8 oz Mixed Salad Greens

2 ripe Pears, quartered and sliced thin

One 6 oz Brie Log, sliced

1/3 cup Walnuts, toasted

A few pinches of Kosher Salt

Directions:

Puree the blackberries and then strain them through a wire mesh sieve. Combine the berry puree, honey, vinegar, honey, kosher salt, black pepper, orange zest and juice in a bowl and whisk while slowly pouring a steady stream of the olive oil. Taste to check seasonings, adjust if needed and set aside.

Divide the greens among plates. Quarter the pears and remove the center core/stem. Slice the pears into thin pieces, arrange on top of the greens and sprinkle with a little kosher salt. Slice Brie and scatter evenly. Drizzle with the blackberry vinaigrette and garnish with the toasted walnuts.

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21 Responses to “Fresh Pear & Brie Salad with Blackberry Vinaigrette”

  1. #
    1
    Sabrina-eat.drink.and be merry. — November 4, 2011 at 11:38 am

    absolutely gorgeous!!!! LOVE brie!! and your vinaigrette is killer!!!

  2. #
    2
    Keeley — November 4, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    I will be making this! Thank you!

  3. #
    3
    Susan Lindquist — November 4, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    Beautiful salad! Getting blackberries is a bit tough right now … I wonder if I could use blackberry jam to make the dressing … Love your beautiful pear … what type of pear is that?

  4. #
    4
    Winnie — November 4, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    Wow- this salad is beyond gorgeous! And I really LOVE the idea of the blackberry dressing…YUM!

  5. #
    5
    Aarthi — November 4, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    This is really a refreshing salad yummy..

  6. #
    6
    Grubarazzi — November 4, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    This salad is uhhhhmmmazing. Yum.

  7. #
    7
    Bev Weidner (Bev Cooks) — November 4, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    I've never seen a brie LOG before! I'm a new woman.

  8. #
    8
    Heather (Heather's Dish) — November 4, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    i love the blackberry dressing idea…and i love that the seeds are strained out! they're the reason i can't bring myself to eat blackberries, but i think drinking the vinaigrette would work out just fine ;)

  9. #
    9
    Carolyn — November 4, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    I can't say that I am all that excited about Tgiving yet…just wrapping my mind around the fact that it's already November! But your salad looks delicious, I am excited about that. I buzzed it!

  10. #
    10
    Shutterbug — November 4, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    this is the kind of salad one would find at a high end restaurant, but it's also quite easy (and cheaper) to make at home! :D

  11. #
    11
    Candice — November 4, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    The combination of pear and blackberry looks really delicious. It's not something I would have thought of…but I'm really excited to try this recipe!

  12. #
    12
    Turmericnspice — November 5, 2011 at 2:01 am

    first time here and i love the space ….vinaigrette looks absolutely awesome

  13. #
    13
    Alexis — November 5, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    This looks great! My daughter *loves* purple and pears so I think she'll love this!

  14. #
    14
    Laurie {Simply Scratch} — November 5, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    Susan~ I believe it is a red bartlett… but any pear will do!

  15. #
    15
    ohitsjuno — November 6, 2011 at 3:18 am

    Interesting blog, I really enjoyed browsing it :)

    XX JUNO ♥
    FRESH NEW FASHION BLOGGER,
    check out my blog and please follow if you like:
    Visit OHITSJUNO.BLOGSPOT.COM
    THANK YOU :))

  16. #
    16
    Made in Sonoma — November 6, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    I love beautiful salads and this one is composed so beautifully!

  17. #
    17
    Yasmeen — November 7, 2011 at 9:20 am

    What a beautiful blackberry vinaigrette! I'm with you on the Brie love (technically yes, we capitalise it because it's named after its namesake region in France).

    I also totally believe in plenty of fresh flavours at Thanksgiving time!

  18. #
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    ZDSea — December 20, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    Hi! Making this for Christmas, can you make the dressing ahead of time? This salad looks beautiful for Christmas dinner!

  19. #
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    Laurie {Simply Scratch} — December 20, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    Absolutely! :) Merry Christmas!

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    Trevor Bechtel — July 3, 2012 at 2:16 am

    Speaking from personal experience, the blackberry puree process totally sucks rocks. But yes, the resulting vinaigrette is perfectly drinkable on its own.

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