YIELD: Makes 4 servings
For Honey-Glazed Pecans:
Freshly ground black pepper
red wine vinegar
1 large or 2 small
ripe Bartlett, Anjou, or Bosc pears
quartered, cored, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
torn mixed salad greens
bacon, crisp cooked and crumbled
4 ounces (about 1 cup)
cut into small cubes or crumbled
To make the honey-glazed pecans, tear off a 10-inch sheet of aluminum foil. Place the nuts in a small skillet and heat over medium heat, stirring, until hot. Decrease the heat to low and drizzle with the honey. Cook, stirring and adjusting the heat as needed to boil the honey. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the honey has coated the nuts and they begin to caramelize. Spread the nuts on the foil. Sprinkle with the salt and a grinding of black pepper. Set aside to cool.
To make the dressing, whisk the honey, vinegar, and salt in a large bowl until well blended.
Place the sliced pears in a separate bowl and add 2 tablespoons of the dressing. Reserve the remaining dressing for the greens.
Add the salad greens to the large bowl with the remaining dressing and toss to coat.
Spread the dressed salad greens on a serving platter or in a large shallow bowl. Top with the crumbled bacon and the Stilton. Arrange the pears around the edges and pour any dressing left in the bowl over the top of the salad. Break the pecans into pieces and use to garnish the salad.
Variation: Instead of using bacon, substitute four slices of prosciutto, cut into 1-inch pieces. Have ready a strainer set over a heatproof bowl. Heat ¼ inch of olive oil in a small skillet until hot enough to sizzle a piece of the prosciutto. Add the remaining prosciutto and cook, stirring, over medium heat for about 30 seconds, or until it is crisped and "frizzled." Pour the contents of the skillet into the strainer. Reserve the oil for another use. Sprinkle the prosciutto over the salad.