Asian Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese

This salad is a play on the ginger-carrot salad served at sushi restaurants. A crisp wedge of iceberg lettuce serves as a clean backdrop for the savory dressing, sweet Asian pear, and creamy blue cheese. (Note: You'll need to make the dressing a day before serving.)
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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 8 hr 20 min
  • Active: 20 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Ingredients

Dressing

1 rib celery

1 medium carrot, peeled

1/4 large white onion, peeled, may substitute Vidalia

1/2 Asian pear, may substitute apple or pear

1/4 cup rice vinegar, plus more to taste

1 1/4 teaspoons sugar

1/3 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

Salad

1 serrano chile

Ice cubes

1/2 Asian pear, may substitute apple or pear

1 head iceberg lettuce

1 1/2 tablespoons sesame seeds

1 sheet nori, dried seaweed used to make sushi rolls

2 ounces Cambazola cheese, cold, may substitute Brie or Gorgonzola

Directions

  1. Dressing: Roughly chop celery, carrot, and onion, then place in the bowl of a food processor. Purée until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl halfway through, about 30 seconds total. Peel ½ of the Asian pear; roughly chop and add to food processor. Blend for 15 seconds. Add vinegar and sugar; blend for 15 seconds. Add soy sauce, grapeseed oil, and sesame oil; blend another 15 seconds. Pour into a lidded container and refrigerate overnight: this will allow the onions to mellow and balance out the flavors. Makes 1½ cups. (Store in lidded container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.)
  2. Salad, part 1: Slice the chile into very thin rings and place in a small bowl filled with ice water. Stir, then let soak 1 minute; the seeds will sink to the bottom and some of the heat will be removed. Remove the chiles floating on top of the water and dry on paper towels. Set aside.
  3. Salad, part 2: Peel remaining half of the pear and cut into matchsticks (batons). Set aside. Discard the outer leaves of the lettuce and give the head a quick wash. Cut away the root and discard, then slice head into 4 large wedges. Slice off the curved back of each wedge so it has a flat surface to rest on.
  4. Assemble: Place a heaping spoonful of dressing in the center of a plate, and nestle an iceberg wedge on top of the dressing. Drizzle 2 more spoonfuls of dressing over the wedge. Garnish with several pear batons, serrano slices, and sesame seeds. Thinly slice the nori sheet; place a small “nest” of nori on top of the wedge. Cut Cambazola into cubes and arrange around the salad. Assemble the other salads and serve immediately.