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Poached Pear, Pickled Shallots, Popped Wild Rice Salad

Poached Pear Salad 33.jpg

This is the type of salad I serve for a VIP event. We compose the salads on plates so that each salad is like a painting. At home, I typically toss the salad to get it to the table, but occasionally will surprise my family with miniature pieces of art. 

With a multiple component salad it is important to know that each ingredient can be done ahead of time and can be stored for several days before serving. You do not need to skip this recipe because it looks complicated. It is actually easy and can be made over several days, if needed.

Popped wild rice is a fun garnish for salads, soups and autumnal dishes. Wild rice pops exactly the same way that popcorn pops, only much smaller. I like to do large batches of the tasty and crunchy treat and then store it at room temperature, tightly covered. I pop the rice in small batches so it does not burn.

  • Duration
  • Prep Time
  • 8-10 ServingsServings



  • 4 pears, I prefer Bosc or very small Forelle pears, peeled
  • 1 bottle of dry red wine
  • 2 star anises
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup of sugar


  • 10 medium shallots, peeled
  • 1 cup dry red wine or reserved poaching liquid from pears
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • Pinch of crushed red chilies
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Popped Wild Rice

  • 1 cup hand quick-cooking wild rice Olive oil or neutral vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt


  • 6 cups baby spinach or favorite salad green
  • Poached pears, sliced
  • Pickled shallots, sliced
  • Popped wild rice
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Cranberry vinaigrette



1. Place all of the ingredients in a stainless steel saucepan and simmer very gently until the pears are very dark burgundy and can be easily pierced with a paring knife (about 1 hour).

2. Cool down the mixture and store the pears in the poaching liquid for an extra deep color.  If serving that day, reserve
the poaching liquid for more poached pears and for pickled shallots.


1. Place all of the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.

2. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Allow the shallots to cool in the liquid.

3. Store the shallots in the liquid for up to 1 month.

Popped Wild Rice:

1. Place a large, heavy-bottom pan over high heat. Add about 1 inch of oil to the pan.

2. When the oil is very hot (400F), add a small amount of rice (about 3 tablespoons).  When the rice has popped, remove the rice with a wire strainer and drain on paper towels. Add more to pop.  Continue popping until you have enough.

3. Salt the rice and store in a covered container at room temperature.


1. Spoon some cranberry vinaigrette on a platter.  Arrange the pears and shallots on the vinaigrette.

2. Place the spinach in small bunches on the vinaigrette and sprinkle with popped wild rice.

3. Drizzle the salad with extra-virgin olive oil and sea salt.

Recipe published in JOY of KOSHER with Jamie Geller Fall 2012. Subscribe Now. 

Bitayavon, Fall 2012 Magazine