- 3 cups water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 lemon, halved
- 3 large Asian pears—halved, cored and thinly sliced lengthwise
- 1/4 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 medium shallot, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and cayenne pepper
- 4 small heads frisée lettuce (2 pounds), tender green and white leaves only, torn into bite-size pieces
- 4 bunches watercress (2 pounds), thick stems discarded
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
- 1 1/2 cups crumbled blue cheese (6 ounces)
- In a medium bowl, combine the water, sugar, kosher salt and fennel seeds; stir to dissolve the sugar and salt. Squeeze the lemon halves over the water and drop them in the bowl. Add the Asian pears and stir to separate the slices. Cover the pears with a plate to keep them submerged and refrigerate overnight or for up to 2 days.
- In a very large bowl, whisk the crème fraîche with the lemon juice, shallot and lemon zest. Gradually whisk in the olive oil and season with salt and cayenne.
- Drain the pears in a colander. Add the pears, frisée, watercress and red onion to the dressing, season with salt and cayenne and toss. Sprinkle the blue cheese over the salad and serve.
The pickled pears, dressing and cleaned greens can be refrigerated separately for up to 2 days. Slice the onion just before serving.
A crisp, citrusy white with an edge of sweetness will stand up to the salty and tangy elements here. Try a lightly sparkling Italian Prosecco.