- 1/3 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne or to taste
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 very ripe pear, peeled, cored and sliced 1/2-inch thick
- 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/4 cup walnut oil
- For the salad: 4 cups arugula
- 1 firm ripe pear, peeled if desired, and sliced.
- 1/2 cup crumbled Roquefort cheese
Make the spicy pecan praline: Lightly oil a baking sheet. Toss the pecans with the salt and cayenne in a small bowl. Place the sugar in a heavy skillet or saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring gently, until the sugar starts to melt. Stop stirring and continue cooking, swirling the skillet or pan often, until the sugar cooks to a dark golden color. Add the pecan mixture and carefully stir to coat the nuts with the caramel. Pour into the baking sheet and spread evenly with a knife. Cool completely. Crack the praline into pieces then finely chop on a cutting board.
Make the dressing: In a small saucepan, combine the pear and vinegar. Bring to a boil and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. Transfer the pear mixture to a blender, add the salt, pepper and honey, and blend until smooth. With the motor running, add the oil in a thin stream. Let cool to room temperature.
Assembly the salad: Toss the arugula with some of the dressing. Mound one fourth of the salad on each of 4 plates. Fan out one fourth of the pear slices decoratively around the salad and top with one fourth of the cheese, and the praline.