Ever since American chefs discovered the amazing food marriage of tree fruits and blue cheese, they have served the two in many forms. Pears are classic, but nearly all tree fruits work well. Go through the seasons: cherries, peaches, plums, apples, and then pears. As much as I like them all, pears remain my favorite. For this salad, I like crisp, moist Asian pears (also called Japanese pears), which can be sliced ahead of time because they don't brown easily. They are also fairly easy to find. null The blue cheese clearly is the dominant ingredient. You don't usually think of cheese with Asian flavors, but in this preparation, it's dynamite. Everything works here: The tamari takes the pecans to a new taste level, and the bitter greens and the reduced pear juice dressing provide just the right spark for this rich, sweet and salty salad.
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Toss the salad gently and briefly; you do not want the cheese to crumble any further and clump together.
Divide the salad among 4 chilled salad plates. Fan the pear slices over each serving.
Let cool to room temperature. Use now or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.
Yield: 1/3 cup
In a shallow bowl, stir the tamari and molasses together to blend. Season with cayenne and salt, to taste.
Spread the pecans on a wire rack set on a baking sheet and roast for about 10 minutes, or until fairly dry and toasted.
Remove from the oven and let cool completely on the rack. Chop the pecans into 1/4-inch pieces.
Yield: 1 cup