Poached Pear Salad | www.floatingkitchen.net

Poached Pear Salad

This post was originally published here November 12, 2014. I’ve adjusted the recipe slightly and updated the text and photographs to reflect those changes. Enjoy!

Phew! Halloween is behind us (it’s no secret that I hate that Holiday) and I’m ready for all things Thanksgiving. So let’s do this!

I’m kicking off this month of Thanksgiving-related foods with a dish that’s somewhat controversial around my house: salad.

Every year goes a little something like this. My Dad and Aunt veto the idea of a Thanksgiving salad (claiming to not have enough stomach space to waste on a salad). While my Mom and I are pro-salad.

And every year turns out the same. We have a salad. Because my Mom and I are in charge of the menu and all the cooking. So we get the final votes.

What? You thought this was a democracy?!?!

Poached Pear Salad | www.floatingkitchen.net

If you’re also on Team Salad, then you might want to consider trying this Poached Pear Salad for Thanksgiving this year. And here’s all the reasons why: (1) it’s a total show stopper with a killer presentation, (2) the pears can be prepared a day in advance, (3) it’s light and bitter, and (4) it looks fancy but it’s secretly easy and low fuss.

Are you convinced yet? I hope so!

Poached Pear Salad | www.floatingkitchen.net

This Poached Pear Salad is definitely all about the pears (and less about the greens and other ingredients), so make sure you choose wisely. I like Bosc or Bartlett pears for this recipe. They maintain their structure/texture well (even when left in the poaching liquid overnight), so they slice up nice and neat. Be sure to start with pears that are ripe but still a little bit firm, so you don’t end up with mushy pears. You want them to come out soft with just a little bit of bite.

And if you can, try and find pears that still have long stems attached. Not only does it look cute ( = very important!), but it also gives you something to hold on to when you’re arranging the pears in the poaching liquid/slicing them.

So tell me: are you Team Salad or Team No-Salad at Thanksgiving?



Poached Pear Salad

Poached Pear Salad

At a Glance:
Yield: Serves 8
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes


For the Poached Pears:

  • 4 cups water
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 6 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 Bosc or Bartlett Pears, peeled

For the Salad:

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon poaching liquid
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • 1-2 heads escarole or frisée
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
  • 1/2 cup walnuts


  1. Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in the maple syrup, brandy, cardamom pods and cinnamon stick. Then add the pears, arranging them so they are submerged in the poaching liquid. Adjust the heat to maintain a simmer and cook the pears for 15-18 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let it come to room temperature. Then cover it and refrigerate the pears in their poaching liquid for 2 hours or up to overnight.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, poaching liquid, mustard, salt and black pepper. Set aside.
  3. Remove the pears from their poaching liquid and slice them in half. Use a small paring knife to remove any seeds.
  4. Separate and wash the escarole/frisée leaves. Divide the leaves between small salad plates. Then place one pear half on each plate. Spoon some of the dressing over top. Then finish with the blue cheese crumbles and walnuts. Serve immediately.

37 comments on “Poached Pear Salad”

  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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