Friday, January 27, 2012

Roasted Pear Salad with White Vinaigrette

When I serve a salad, it's kind of all or nothing for me.  I'll either only put effort into washing some mixed greens and topping them with red wine vinegar and olive oil or I'll make some fruit-nut-cheese salad combination with homemade dressing.  There's really no middle ground here.

This is one of the "all" salads that I make.  The dressing is very light and fresh which I think just helps accent everything else in the salad.  It's probably my go-to dressing now!

Of course, these salads are so versatile.  I love adding pomegranate arils to them (I can't seem to keep my grubby little hands off them) or sliced apples.  I provided instructions below for roasting pears which is a great way to soften and sweeten unripe pears, not to mention gives them that great caramelized flavor and color. The roasted pears can also be served warm or at room temperature which makes them very versatile as well!

For nuts, you could also easily substitute pecans or even sliced almonds.  And finally, for the cheese, I almost always use goat cheese, feta or blue cheese.

Salad with Pomegranate, Roasted Pears, Feta & Walnuts with White Vinaigrette
Roasted Pears from Cook's Illustrated Holiday Entertaining, Dressing from For the Love of Cooking
Serves 6
  • 9 oz. mixed greens (or any lettuces you might prefer)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (I prefer mine toasted)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • Pomegranate arils (optional; I used about 1/4-1/2 of one pomegranate for this)
  • Roasted pears (see below)
  • White Vinaigrette (see below) or dressing of your choice
Roasted Pears
  • 1- 2 firm firm Bartlett or Anjou pears
  • 1/2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/2 Tbsp sugar
White Vinaigrette:
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 3 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste (lots of pepper)
  1. To make roasted pears: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position, place baking sheet on rack and heat to 500 degrees.  Halve each pear lengthwise and remove core. Set each half cut-side down and cut each half into fifths (I then chop the pear slices in quarters to make them more bite-size.)  Toss pear with butter; add sugar and toss again to combine. Spread pears in a single layer on preheated bakesheet. Roast until brown on bottom, about 7-8 minutes. Flip pears and let roast 5 more minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature.
  2. To make the vinaigrette: Combine rice vinegar, red wine vinegar garlic and sugar in a small bowl. While whisking, drizzle in oil. Season with salt and pepper. I've found that using a clean glass jar works very well instead (such as a peanut butter or almond butter jar that's been cleaned in the dishwasher). Simply combine all the ingredients in the jar, screw on the lid and shake.  No whisking required!
  3. In a large serving bowl, add greens and top with pears, walnuts, feta, cranberries, and pomegranate arils.
  4. Serve salad drizzled with vinaigrette, or on the side.

1 comment:

  1. I'm definitely the same way when it comes to salad. I'm either making an exciting one...or I'm not making one at all. This sounds perfect for one of those exciting days! :P