Boston Lettuce with Grilled Bosc Pears

December 2002By Comments

Recipe from John Maxwell, The Mansion at Judges’ Hill, Austin

Lemon-Cream Dressing

1 cup heavy cream
6 tablespoons crème fraîche or 3 tablespoons sour cream
1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon, minced
1/8 teaspoon salt

In a large mixing bowl, stir heavy cream briefly until it froths a bit. Stir in crème fraîche, then quickly whisk in lemon juice, zest, and salt. If dressing is too thick, you can thin it with water. Refrigerate.


3 or 4 heads Boston lettuce (same as Bibb or butter lettuce)
2 Bosc pears
1 lemon
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 ounces (about 1 cup) chopped pecans
3 ounces (about 3/4 cup) blue-veined goat cheese or Roquefort,
broken into small chunks

Core, rinse, and dry lettuce. Tear leaves into manageable pieces, or leave whole for a more dramatic presentation. Refrigerate.

Preheat grill. Cut pears in half lengthwise and remove seeds but do not peel. Place flat side down and cut lengthwise into 1/4 -inch slices. Squeeze on a bit of lemon juice to keep the pears from turning brown. Brush lightly with olive oil and cook until faint grill marks appear and slices start to soften. Let cool. (Note: Pears may be sautéed instead of grilled, but grilling adds flavor. You may cook them a day ahead and refrigerate if not using immediately.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pecans in a metal pie pan and toast until lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool.

To serve, toss lettuce gently with dressing (for more even distribution, coat sides and bottom of bowl with dressing first). Arrange on chilled salad plates. If using whole leaves, put largest on bottom. Top with 3 or 4 slices of pear and sprinkle with pecans and goat cheese.

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