Pears Poached in Red Wine with Roquefort and Spinach Salad

Salads will never be boring again with this French inspired recipe. The delicious dish combines red wine poached pears with earthy spinach and Roquefort cheese.

The Skinny French Kitchen
Harry Eastwood


It’s difficult to imagine a more elegant and beautiful salad combination than this - these ingredients belong together. This recipe is perfect as a starter at a winter dinner party.

Serves 6


For the poached pears:
60g caster sugar
400ml good-quality red wine
200ml water
Zest of ½ lemon, cut into a long strip with most of the pith removed
2 cloves
3 unripe pears (Conference are good), stalks on, weighing 200g each
For the dressing:
2 tsp walnut oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
For the salad:
6 large handfuls young spinach leaves, washed and dried
90g Roquefort, crumbled
A small bunch chives, finely chopped


In a small saucepan that will hold the pears closely together, combine all the poaching ingredients except the pears. Bring to a simmer with the lid on, then turn the heat right down.

Peel the pears, keeping the stalks intact. Cut the pears in half lengthways and core them with a teaspoon. Add them to the poaching liquid.

Simmer gently, uncovered, for 20 minutes, or until the pears feel just cooked through.

Remove the pears with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool. Discard the poaching liquid (or freeze it to make a yummy red wine granita).

In a large mixing bowl, combine the dressing ingredients with the spinach. Toss to coat the leaves evenly. There is deliberately only a very small amount of dressing: the leaves want to be barely glistening.

Divide the spinach between six plates and top each with half a pear. Crumble some Roquefort over each. Finish off by sprinkling the chopped chives over and serve.

Skinny Secret

Roquefort is worth 56 calories per person in this recipe. The good news is that, because it’s so powerful, a little goes a long way. When using high-calorie ingredients like cheese, it’s always a good idea to go for the stronger varieties in order to cut down the quantities used.

112 calories per serving.

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