Pear Salad With Walnuts
Salad Greens, Ripe Pears and Walnut Vinaigrette
- Servings: 4.
There are many variations on this classic combination of pears, walnuts and the best fall and winter salad greens. A few essential details can make all the difference between a good and great result:
- Use ripe, flavorful, juicy pears. Anjou and Bartlett are both good choices. If you can, buy the pears two or three days before you plan to make the salad so you can be sure they'll be perfectly ripe.
- Don't use all walnut oil in the vinaigrette. Walnut oil is rich, strong-flavored and heavy and can add an unpleasant aftertaste if there's too much of it in a dressing. Instead use a little walnut oil and make the rest canola or olive oil.
- Leave some of the walnut pieces in large, preferably intact halves. This adds visual appeal and lets each person have generous walnut flavor.
- Instead of tossing all the ingredients together in a bowl, compose this salad on each plate with the greens piled alongside slices of pear.
- 1/2 cup walnut halves (about 2 oz.)
- 2 heads Belgian endive, cut into 1/2-inch thick rings (about 2 cups)
- 1 medium head radicchio, torn into 1 to 2-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
- 2 cups frisée, torn into 2-inch pieces
- 2 ripe Anjou or Bartlett pears, peeled, halved, cored and cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 2/3 cup crumbled good blue cheese (such as Stilton, Maytag, or Roquefort)
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon walnut oil
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Preheat the oven to 350º F.
- Place the walnut halves on a dry sheet pan. Toast, shaking the pan occasionally, until crisp and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Watch them carefully so that they don't burn. Transfer to a bowl and let cool.
- Peel, core and slice the pears into 1/4-inch slices. Hold aside.
- Crumble the blue cheese. Hold aside.
- In a small bowl combine the vinegar, a generous pinch of salt, several grinds of pepper, and the Dijon mustard. Use a fork or whisk to combine until the salt and mustard are dissolved in the vinegar.
- Continuing to whisk, add the olive oil and walnut oil and combine until emulsified. Taste and adjust seasonings and flavors to make sure there is a good balance of oil and acidity. Hold aside and re-whisk when ready to use.
- When ready to serve, in a separate bowl combine the endive, radicchio and frisee. Drizzle with about 5 tablespoons of vinaigrette. Toss to combine and add more dressing if necessary.
- On individual serving plates, place a mound of the dressed greens.
- Arrange about one-half pear's worth of slices around the greens.
- Sprinkle crumbled blue cheese and walnut halves on top of the pears and greens.
- Serve immediately.
Tip: A melon baller is a perfect tool to core the pears. Just slice each pear in half and use the melon baller to remove the seeds and core, leaving the rest of the half intact and perfect for slicing.