Asian-Spiced Pear &Arugula Salad
3 cups apple cider
3/4 cup plum wine
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, aged
2 star anise, whole
1 teaspoon pink peppercorns
2 pieces fresh ginger, peeled
4 pears, ripe, preferably Bosc
1/2 pound arugula, stemmed
1/4 pound blue cheese
Remove the zest of the lemon and cut into fine julienne.
Juice the lemon.
Mix the cider, plum wine, vinegar, star anise, peppercorns, ginger, half the lemon juice and half the lemon zest in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
Peel, halve and core the pears, keeping the stem attached.
Place the pear halves in the hot liquid and reduce the heat until liquid barely simmers.
Poach until pears are tender, about 8 minutes.
Remove the pears from the poaching liquid with a slotted spoon.
Bring the poaching liquid to a gentle boil and cook until reduced by half, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Stir in the remaining lemon juice.
(The salad can be prepared to this point up to 1 day ahead. Store pears and liquid in the refrigerator, but bring to room temperature before serving.)
Arrange arugula on serving plates.
Place pear halves on top of greens and drizzle with the reduced liquid.
Crumble the cheese around the rim of each plate and garnish with the remaining lemon zest.