2 Bartlett or Anjou pears
1 bottle Oregon Pinot noir
¼ cup of sugar
1 star anise
½ teaspoon black peppercorns
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1¼ cups olive oil
1 cup toasted walnut pieces
½ cup white wine
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
String Potatoes or Frites
1 russet potato, peeled
1 quart canola oil
3 cups of mixed greens
1 cup of crumbled Oregonzola bleu cheese
Peel the pears. Combine the remaining ingredients in a pot and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for five minutes. Add the pears, and cook them over medium-low heat for about twenty minutes, or until fork tender. Remove from the liquid to a bowl of ice water for one minute to stop cooking. Reserve liquid. Continue reducing the poaching liquid over medium-high heat for about fifteen to twenty minutes, until reduced by two-thirds. Remove from the heat, and allow to cool.
To make the warm walnut vinaigrette, sauté the shallots and the garlic in two tablespoons of the oil, in a medium-sized pan over medium heat. Add the walnut pieces, and stir for twenty to thirty seconds. Add the wine and white wine vinegar. With a whisk, add the Dijon, then slowly stream in the remaining oil, whisking constantly, until completely incorporated. Heat the vinaigrette over very low heat.
Fill a large, heavy pot halfway with oil. Heat to 360F. On a vegetable turner (found at most kitchen stores) spin the potato into strings, or cut into very thin strips. Dry the prepped potato quickly with a towel, then place in the oil to fry until golden. You will need to turn them for even cooking. Remove the potato from the oil and put in a bowl lined with paper towels to drain and cool.
Slice the pears lengthwise on either side of the core into six even pieces. With a spoon, take some of the cooled reduced cooking liquid (which should be a syrupy consistency) and stream or streak onto the plate. Place one of the largest pear slices down on the plate over the pear glaze. Place some of the bleu cheese crumbles on the pear slice, then some of the greens dressed in a little oil, then carefully place the next largest piece of pear on top and repeat. Spoon some of the warm walnut vinaigrette next to the stacked pear, and garnish with the potato nest or frites.
*A winner has been selected for this category* Congratulations to Ashley J. in Bend!