Category Finalist, Side Dishes and Side Salads. "I made a poached pear dessert and thought the pears would be delightful in a salad. If white balsamic vinegar is not available, Champagne vinegar works well, too." --Margee Berry, Trout Lake, WA
2 cups water
1 (750-milliliter) bottle riesling or other slightly sweet white wine
8 (1/8-inch-thick) slices red onion, separated into rings
1/2 cup golden California raisins
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese
2 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons honey Dijon mustard
How to Make It
Combine 2 cups water and wine in a large saucepan over medium heat. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean; add seeds, bean, and next 3 ingredients (through orange rind) to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until pears are tender. Drain and cool, and discard bean and rinds. Slice pears in half lengthwise, and cut into thin wedges.
Place 1 cup greens on each of 8 plates. Top each serving with 1 red onion slice, 1 tablespoon raisins, 1/3 cup pears, and 1 tablespoon cheese.
Combine oil, vinegar, and mustard in a small bowl; stir with a whisk until smooth. Drizzle about 1 teaspoon dressing over each salad. Serve immediately.