Irish Blue Cheese and Autumn Pears: A Winning Combination

There are over 3,000 known pear varieties grown around the world, each with a distinctive character, texture, and flavor. The most popular and recognizable pears are the yellow Bartlett, with a true pear shape, followed by the elegant, egg-shaped Anjou, (also called d’Anjou), the graceful Bosc, pudgy Comice, and tiniest Forelle. Crisp, crunchy, and sweet, U.S.-grown pears are harvested from the middle of August through the end of November and can be used in recipes from sweet-tart salads to sweeter-than-sweet pies and tarts. They’re also great simply partnered with blue cheese — Kerrygold’s Cashel Blue preferred — and a glass of wine or port.  


Poached Pear and Cashel Blue Salad

Serves 4

A whole poached pear tops this salad made with Cashel Blue cheese and toasted walnuts. The recipe was inspired by one served at The Bishop’s Buttery in Cashel Palace Hotel, Cashel, County Tipperary.

Poached Pears

750 ml bottle sweet white wine, such as Riesling

3/4 cup sugar

2 tbsp. honey

1 vanilla bean, split and scraped

4 medium ripe pears, peeled, stalks left on


1 tbsp. Sherry vinegar

1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

4 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp. chopped fresh tarragon

10 oz. mixed salad greens

4 oz. Cashel Blue cheese, cubed

4 oz. toasted walnuts

1. To make the pears, in a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the wine, water, sugar, vanilla pod, and seeds to a boil. Add the pears, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, covered, for 15-20 minutes, or until the pears are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. Remove the pears and stand them upright on a plate. Let cool completely; refrigerate.

2. To make the salad, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper. Slowly whisk in the oil and tarragon. Toss the greens with the dressing and divide among 4 salad plates. Place a pear in the center of the salad and sprinkle the blue cheese and walnuts around it.

Margaret Johnson's latest cookbook, "Christmas Flavors of Ireland,"  is now available for purchase.  From decking the halls to gathering around the family table, you'll find timeless classics and exciting new ideas in this full color collection of popular Irish dishes. With easy-to-follow recipes -- warming soups and crisp potatoes, wonderful puddings and dazzling desserts -- Christmas Flavors of Ireland will awaken your senses to the festive, fun-filled season in Ireland. With over 100 recipes, this colorful collection will become an essential addition to your holiday bookshelf and a gift that family and friend will treasure year after year.

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Tags: Cashel, Hospitality, Tipperary, cheese, food, pears, recipes, salad

Comment by Ryan O'Rourke on October 3, 2014 at 8:30am

I will most definitely be giving this one a try, and soon.  Thanks for sharing this recipe, Margaret!  :-)

Comment by Margaret M. Johnson on October 3, 2014 at 8:45am

Good, hope you enjoy. 

Comment by Ryan O'Rourke on October 14, 2014 at 8:38am

Margaret ... I made this salad last night for my wife and I along with two guests we have staying with us.  It was a HUGE hit.  It makes a wonderful meal along with some brown bread.  We'll be pulling this recipe out frequently.  Thanks for sharing it with us!

Comment by Margaret M. Johnson on October 14, 2014 at 3:47pm

So glad you enjoyed it! I'm currently in Killarney finishing up my "Flavors of Ireland" tour. We just had our "farewell dinner" at Killarney Park Hotel, where we're staying, and restaurant mgr. gave my group a little Irish cheese and wine pairing. He served a fantastic fig/port/Cashel Blue spread with the cheese board. Basically chopped figs covered in port and left to sit for 2-3 weeks. When fully macerated, he mixes in Cashel Blue---brilliant!!!!! Can't wait to try it to have on hand for the holidays. Give it a go yourself!


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