Fall makes me think of pears, and pears make me think of that oft-seen salad in which the fruit is paired with walnuts and chunks of blue cheese over lettuce.
It’s popular in restaurants for a reason. The sweet and juicy pears play off the salty rich cheese, while the walnuts add texture and their nutty rich flavor.
The combination seemed ripe for tinkering. What if I used radicchio instead of the typical mixed greens. And could the blue cheese be melted on croutons? And – that kind of musing led nowhere. It was merely the same salad with a few swap-outs. But wait? What if the pears and cheese go into a grilled sandwich? And use Asian pears, for their crisp flesh and floral notes. Now I was interested, and it led to this.
Tips: If you cannot find pepper jelly, experiment with another preserve for a bit of sweetness (apricot? fig?) or giardiniera for heat. Or both. If the radicchio makes the slaw too bitter, add a little honey or fresh orange juice to the dressing.