Pieces of Brie coated in bread crumbs are used to top this fruit and greens salad. Dried cranberries and toasted walnuts complete this dish.
Place flour in a shallow dish. Place egg white in another shallow dish. In a third shallow dish, place bread crumbs. Coat Brie or Camembert pieces with flour; dip in egg white, then in bread crumbs. Place coated pieces on a lightly greased baking sheet. Place in freezer until needed.
In a large skillet, combine champagne, sugar, water, cloves, allspice, stick cinnamon, and vanilla bean, if you like. Bring to boiling over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar; reduce heat. Carefully add pear halves to skillet, cover, and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes or until pears are just tender. (Test for doneness by inserting a wooden toothpick into the thickest part of a pear. The pears should still be slightly firm, but the wooden pick should penetrate easily.) Remove from heat. Drain pears, discarding liquid and spices. Transfer to a bowl. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours or until chilled.
To serve salad, in a large bowl, combine mesclun, half of the cherries or cranberries, and half of the toasted walnuts. Pour half of the dressing over salad mixture; toss lightly to coat. Set aside. Remove baking sheet from freezer. Bake Brie or Camembert in a 425 degree F oven for 5 to 6 minutes or until cheese is softened, slightly bubbly and golden brown. Place a pear half and a cheese piece on each salad plate. Place some of the dressed mesclun in the center of each plate. On each serving, drizzle a little more vinaigrette and sprinkle with remaining cherries or cranberries and walnuts. Makes 8 servings.