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Endive, Pear, and Stilton Salad

This delicious salad calls for some unusual ingredients that are worth finding for this amazing combination of flavors. Star anise can be found in Oriental markets and in some larger supermarkets. The leftover anise pods (which are actually in the shape of stars) make a fragrant potpourri when mixed with some cinnamon sticks and a clove studded orange. Also, since the recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of Port and the smallest amount that the liquor stores carry is a fifth, it might be worth calling a friend or neighbor to borrow the much needed 1 teaspoon. The recipe also calls for parchment paper to keep the pears from sticking to the baking sheet. Most supermarkets now carry this paper. Use it also to line your cookie sheets. You may never have to wash them again!

For dressing
1 shallot
1 whole star anise
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon Port

For salad
2 firm ripe pears (preferably Bosc)
4 Belgian endives
5 ounces Stilton cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)

Chop shallot and crush star anise. In a blender, blend shallot, oil, orange juice and Port until emulsified. Transfer mixture to a small bowl or jar and add star anise and salt and pepper to taste. Chill dressing, covered, at least 4 hours. Pour dressing through a sieve into a bowl and discard solids. Whisk dressing until combined well.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Halve and core the pears. Cut pears lengthwise into 1/4 inch thick slices and arrange in one layer on baking sheet. Roast pears in middle of oven until pale golden, about 10 minutes, and cool on baking sheet.

Separate endive leaves, and, if desired cut leaves crosswise into 1 1/2 inch thick pieces.

On the salad plate, arrange pears, endive leaves and Stilton. Drizzle dressing on top. Serves 4.

Gourmet, September 1997

Thursday, January 11, 2001

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