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Pan-Roasted Pear & Cotija Cheese Salad with Warm Applejack Vinaigrette

  • Author: Carol Green


A sweet and salty warm salad perfect for cooler weather. Sweet, firm pears, pan roasted and napped with an Applejack vinaigrette to slightly wilt the bitter greens. Salty toasted Cotija cheese and spiced pecans complete the dish.




3          firm, ripe Bartlett, Comice or Anjou pears, peeled, cored and cut into six slices

10        oz Cotija Cheese, roughly crumbled

8          oz mixed bitter greens such as Kale, Mustard Greens, Arugula

1/4       cup Spiced Pecans (recipe below)

Ghee, for cooking


1/4       cup Holman Distillery Applejohn Applejack

1          tablespoon fresh Lemon Juice

1/8       cup Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

2          tablespoons Butter

1/4       cup Olive Oil

1          tablespoon fresh grated Ginger

3          stalks Green Onion, chopped

2          tablespoons Honey

1          teaspoon Dijon Mustard

pinch salt


  • Prepare the bitter greens; tear or cut int bite size pieces and place in a large bowl
  • Preheat a large skillet over medium high heat, add a tablespoon of ghee and arrange the pear slices in the pan.
  • Cooking, shaking the pan, and turning once, until the pears are golden and caramelized but still firm.
  • Deglaze the pan with the Applejack, allow half the alcohol to cook off.
  • Remove the pears to a plate and set aside.
  • Add the apple cider vinegar and lemon juice to the pan
  • Whisk in the butter until combined, followed by the ginger, green onions, olive oil, honey and mustard.
  • Season with salt.
  • Drizzle a little of the dressing over the pears, set rest of dressing aside
  • Heat a small, separate pan over medium high heat. Add the Cojita cheese, and allow to toast until golden, turning once or twice, pull pan off the heat.
  • Pour the rest of the warm dressing over the greens and toss through.
  • Arrange the greens on a large platter or individual serving dishes, top with the pear slices, Cojita cheese and spiced pecans.