Thursday, November 19, 2009

Frisee with Pears, Goat Cheese, and Salted Pecans -Recipe #49 - Stirring the Pot

My friend and I had a long conversation yesterday about what we were serving for Thanksgiving. The two major dilemmas are not having enough oven space and too many things needing your attention at once. After at least one hour on the phone, we both decided that a great Thanksgiving salad was going to be part of our Thanksgiving table this year. Why not?

Maybe a green salad isn't a traditional side dish, but it is an easy and beautiful addition to any Thanksgiving table. A salad can be made the night before and doesn't require any oven or stovetop space the next day. Better yet, a salad requires no attention while you're busy cooking other things. Salads are beautiful and light and are a welcome dish at any party I've thrown. For all of these reasons, my friend and I both decided that we were definitely making a salad for Thanksgiving!!

Can you see where I'm going with this? This recipe from Stirring the Pot would be a perfect salad for any Holiday table. It is beautiful, easy, colorful, healthy and absolutely delicious!!

Frisee with Pears, Goat Cheese, and Salted Pecans -adapted from Stirring the Pot by T Flo
1 cup creme fraiche ** I used Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 lemon, juice only
1 tablespoon sugar
1 shallot, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 medium ripe Bosc pears **I used red Bartlet pears for the red color
8 cups frisee lettuce **I couldn't find any at Whole Foods so I used mixed baby greens
3/4 cup salted pecan halves, toasted
3/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

In a small bowl combine creme fraiche (or greek yogurt), mustard, lemon juice, and sugar. Fold in shallot and season with salt and pepper. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator to let the flavors come together. Note: I let my dressing set for 24 hours.

Meanwhile, for the salad, halve, core, and cut the pears into thin slices. Toss pear slices together with frisee leaves and toasted pecans in a large salad bowl. Drizzle with dressing and fold in the crumbled goat cheese. Serve immediately.

Notes/Results: I have been wanting to make this salad since I received the book. It is creamy, sweet, salty, and crunchy. I absolutely loved it and think it would be great for any Holiday table, especially with the red bartlet pears. The pears do need to be somewhat firm or they will fall apart in the salad. I couldn't find salted pecan halves, so I coated them in a little butter, sprinkled them with a little salt and roasted them in the oven at 350F for about 8 minutes. I think dried cranberries would be a great addition to this salad and they would add a wonderful dimension with their tart and chewy flavor. This salad was extremely healthy, especially with the creme fraiche subbed out with the Greek yogurt. I looked at the nutritional information for the goat cheese and saw that the package was 4 ozs. Each 1 oz. serving of goat cheese is only 70 calories. This would be a great main dish or side dish to any table. Add a whole grain roll or slice of bread and all food groups are represented!! A definite make again recipe!

What are you serving for Thanksgiving? How do you get around the issue of limited oven space and too many things requiring your attention? I'd love to hear your secrets!!


  1. What a beautiful salad! I love it. Unfortunately we dont celebrate thanksgiving in the UK (i so miss it!). I do however understand the problem of limited space very well. I dont think its a great solution, but the way i deal with it is try to eat up all the food in the fridge. Also, throw out stuff you dont plan to eat, and then just make do. I dont have too many options for space.
    As for things that need my attention all at once, precook as many items as you can the day before. THen put them all in the oven in pyrex dishes before serving. This allows everything to cook at once, and i just serve it in those pyrex dishes.

  2. I love fruit in salads - my husband thinks its nuts!

    We utilize our grill to make the turkey and ham. Yes, you read that right. Even if it were just me and my husband, we would be getting both!

    The gas grill gets the turkey on our rotisserie. The Weber gets the ham, that leaves the oven for the side dishes - and I try to make things that cook at the same temp, usually 350.

  3. I serve salad at Thanksgiving - it's a terrific idea for a side dish that won't require last minute attention or oven space!

    Mmmm - goat cheese. It looks so good!

  4. I keep thinking that I need to learn to make a few good salads!

  5. I always do a salad for Thanksgiving (my currnet salad will be a green salad with goat cheese, nuts and dried cherries). So I also love your ingredients - love mixing it up. Will definitely keep this gorgeous salad on my radar.

  6. Friends who are not foodies think I'm nuts because I love to hear what everyone's having. I've scaled way back this year since I'm only having 5 at dinner and I'm trying to maintain my weight loss. That means very few hors d'oeuvres and no antipasto. We're having just some stuffed celery and cheese and crackers with cocktails; a butternut squash and sweet potato soup; roast turkey only this year (no fried one, too), stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes with sour cream and chives, mashed turnips with crispy shallots, corn casserole, brussel sprouts with pancetta. No baking for me this year, but guests will bring pumpkin pie and brownies and I've ordered a very tiny Italian cheesecake. I will definitely miss the antipasto and the pre-dinner sausage balls and whatever else struck my fancy, but I'm hoping for a good weigh in on Saturday. I can pig out vicariously by reading everyone's blogs. I make my gravy a few days ahead (turkey wings and necks). I'll prepare the corn casserole and bake Thanksgiving Day. I'll prepare the mashed potatoes and turnips the day before and reheat slowly. The only thing I make the day of is the turkey and stuffing and brussel sprouts.

  7. oh my gosh, this salad look so good! i love the salty buttery pecans! salads are seriously my favorite lunch item, i can't wait to try this out!

  8. I think this salad is a PERFECT choice for Thanksgiving Kim!! Its gorgeous and I love the sound of the dressing, and pears, pecans, splendid choice. EWWW did I just type splendid, what a nerdy word!!WTH!

    TFLO always a winner with me.

  9. I'm still trying to decide what I'm bringing on Thanksgiving, and this is calling my name right now!

  10. OH Kim what a gorgeous salad! Look at the colors, just so pretty! Fabulous photo too! Love it!!

    Salads like this always taste so good after the big holiday meals.

  11. Gorgeous salad--I love salad at Thanksgiving because it makes me feel better about stuffing all that food in my face if I can say I ate salad too. Plus it is often the one lighter item on the table.

  12. Thankfully I'm in charge of making mostly cold dishes this year (cranberry sauce, hummus, pumpkin cheesecake) and one hot dish (a butternut squash side dish - surprise surprise) so I can cook or prepare everything at my apartment and then not have to worry about it once I get to my parents house. I think my parents generally pre-prepare everything and then just heat it in sequence on teh big day.

    This salad looks fantastic! I see why it is perfect for Thanksgiving. All of the flavors of fall are represented. You know what might make it even better? Roasted winter squash. Just saying. :p

  13. I think salad is a great addition to the Thanksgiving table. Especially, an elegant salad such as yours. I say we start rocking the boat and start some new traditions!

  14. That salad looks AND sounds amazing! I am still trying to figure out what I am making and when I need to make it, I wish I had 2 ovens or 3! :)

  15. That is one beautiful salad. Have room for one more at the table?

  16. I love the range of flavors and textures in this salad. The sweetness from the pears and crunch of the pecans, and the yummy bite from the goat cheese. This is a delicious salad for Thanksgiving!


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