Frisee Salad with Winter Spiced Poached Pears

Disclosure: I received a SousVide Supreme and Vacuum Sealer for review. All opinions expressed are 100% my own. Thanks for supporting companies I believe in, which allows me to continue to create and share unique recipes with you.

How do you guys feel about having salad at Thanksgiving? My family is divided on the subject. My Dad and Aunt firmly believe there is no room for a salad at the Thanksgiving table. I guess they don’t want to waste any stomach space on greens. But others in my family have the exact opposite opinion. Me included. I really like to have something crunchy and fresh to break-up all the heaviness of the meal.

A Thanksgiving salad shouldn’t be just any old greens tossed with some bottled dressing. It needs to be worthy of taking up precious table (and stomach) real estate. For three years in a row I’ve served this recipe and it always gets rave reviews. But I’m changing in up and going big in 2014 with this Frisee Salad with Winter Spiced Poached Pears.

Can I just say how stinking adorable frisee is? I love all the fluffy, frilly strands poking out of the bowl. It looks festive to me. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just a weirdo who thinks vegetables are cute. Don’t judge me.

Frisee tends to be on the bitter side of the spectrum. But that’s what makes it the perfect resting place for some slightly sweetened poached pears. To give the pears a cozy, winter feel I poached them in mixture of maple syrup, brandy, cardamom and vanilla. I also used a bit of that poaching liquid in the salad dressing to carry those wonderful flavors all throughout the salad. And in my opinion, pears need blue cheese and walnuts, both of which I added to this salad.

Want to know a secret about these pears? I poached them in my SousVide Supreme!

I know I talked in length last week about the awesomeness of my new toy, so I’ll refrain from being too long winded about all that again today. But I will say that these are some of the tastiest and easiest poached pears I’ve EVER MADE. And here is the other awesome thing: I only had to use a little over 1/4 cup of poaching liquid (because everything is vacuum sealed)! That’s a money saver (and a WIN!) in my book.

I know not everyone has a SousVide Supreme (although I really think everyone should have one!), so this post here is a good place to start for some instructions on poaching pears in the more traditional way.



P.S. This post contains affiliate links. Thanks in advance for helping me keep my little kitchen afloat. XOXO!

Frisee Salad with Winter Spiced Poached Pears

Serves 4

Frisee Salad with Winter Spiced Poached Pears


  • For the Poached Pears
  • 2 firm pears, peeled, halved and cored (I recommend Bosc pears)
  • 3 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
  • 1/2 fresh vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped

  • For the Salad
  • 3 tablespoons champagne or white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon reserved poaching liquid
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 2 small heads frisee
  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 1 cup blue cheese, crumbled

  • Special Equipment
  • SousVide Supreme
  • SousVide Vacuum Sealer and cooking pouches


  1. Poach the pears. Fill your SousVide Supreme with water and pre-heat it to 158 degrees Fahrenheit (70 degrees Celsius).
  2. Place the pear halves and the cardamom pods in a large cooking pouch. In a small bowl, combine the maple syrup, brandy, and vanilla bean seeds. Pour this mixture over the pears in the cooking pouch. Vacuum seal the pouch, being careful not to suck the liquid up into the vacuum sealer. Alternatively, you can use a zip-closure bag and use the displacement method to remove as much air from the bag as possible before sealing it closed.
  3. Submerge the cooking pouch in your pre-heated SousVide Supreme. Cover and cook for 30-40 minutes. Carefully remove the cooking pouch from the SousVide Supreme. The pears should be soft, yet still retain a little bit of resistance. Remove the pears from the cooking pouch and set aside. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the poaching liquid.
  4. Make the dressing. In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, reserved poaching liquid, salt and pepper.
  5. Assemble the salads. Divide the frisee evenly among 4 bowls. Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of dressing over the frisee. Top with 1/4 cup walnuts, 1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles and a poached pear half. Serve immediately.


1. If you are going to be serving this at Thanksgiving, I recommend going with a slightly smaller serving size. You can cut the pears into quarters, dividing the salad up into 8 plates.

37 comments on “Frisee Salad with Winter Spiced Poached Pears”

  1. I think a salad on Thanksgiving is definitely acceptable, provided it has a creative touch, like this! I love the addition of poached pears, Liz! Looks like a perfect dish to me!

  2. Beautiful. I’m definitely in the salad at Thanksgiving camp, for the same reasons and you. This one’s a stunner. Love poached pears!

  3. Frisee is the cutest of the leafy vegetables. I am totally with you about salad on turkey day– it’s such a good compliment to all those heavier dishes! This would go wonderfully at my family’s table!

  4. The SousVide POACHES, too??! I really must get one! This salad looks marvelous, dear! And I’m ALL ABOUT salad at Thanksgiving!

    • Yes! It does it all! I would seriously consider looking into getting one. Next up – I’m going to “confit” some vegetables in my SousVide Supreme!

  5. Very interesting salad. I love the idea of adding pear:)

  6. YES, salads should definitely make an appearance at the table! As long as it’s not just greens and a dressing. Yummmm, poached pears!!

  7. I love frisee too! You described it perfectly 🙂 And I am definitely a fan of salad at Thanksgiving (even if it just gives there impression that I’m not eating pure carbs!)

  8. Poached pears are so underrated in the Fall. I am so glad to see it star in this salad!!

  9. This salad is full of flavors I love! The poached pears are so fun 🙂 Pinned!

  10. You know what? We ALWAYS have salad at Thanksgiving and it’s always the thing I put very little of on my plate to make room for other dishes. But this frisee pear salad sounds too hard to pass up – yum!

  11. You know, I crave salad at Thanksgiving — we need raw greens to go along with all of the green bean casserole and creamed spinach. haha I usually have some type of veggie tray as one appetizer, and a salad that’s festive for Thanksgiving. This salad would be perfect, Liz — it looks delicious!

  12. I vote yes to fresh and crunchy! There’s definitely a place for greens at the Thanksgiving table, especially when they’re as thoughtful as this salad. Love all the flavors; such a classic!

  13. I’m all for salad at Thanksgiving. . you need some greens to break up the carbs and cheese and gravy and stuff! 😛 This one looks fabulous .. love the poached pears!!! Ah, so dreamy and delicious!

  14. I’m in love with pears! This looks so light and refreshing.
    Perfect for lunch.
    Have an awesome day!

  15. I love fruit and nuts in my salad, this looks delicious!

  16. This salad looks delicious! I love frissee and love when salads are either made with it or feature it. And poached pears…Dang! worthy of a dinner party!

  17. This is a salad worthy of the Thanksgiving table for sure! This looks amazing!!!

  18. I love poached pears! This salad looks great – and I could use a few salads right now! 🙂

    • Right? I am going to need lots of salads for the next two months to make up for all the other stuff. Thanks, Dorothy!

  19. Pingback: 25 Perfect Pear Recipes for Fall - Glue Sticks and Gumdrops

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