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Archive for the ‘Pear’ Category

Time for a simple lunch salad, just for me. I wanted to see if beets would work with one of my favorite salad combinations — creamy pears, crunchy candied pecans, and balsamic vinaigrette.

Salad with Golden Beet, Pear, Cranberries, and Candied Pecans

Ingredients, ready for action.

Ingredients:
(Serves one for lunch.)
3-4 cups of mache and mixed greens, including radicchio and frisee.
1/2 a pear, quartered, cored, and sliced.
1/4 cup of candied pecans.
1/4 cup of dried, sweetened cranberries.
1/4 cup of grated golden beets.
Freshly ground pepper, to taste.

Salad with Golden Beet, Pear, Cranberries, and Candied Pecans

Ready for the vinaigrette!

Balsamic Vinaigrette:
(Use only what you need. Refrigerate extra for a couple of days.)
1 T balsamic vinegar.
3 T extra virgin olive oil.
1/2 clove of garlic, smashed and minced.
1/4 tsp maple syrup.
Pinch of salt, to taste.

First I prepared my salad dressing in a small jar, giving the garlic time to mellow and infuse the vinaigrette. I created a nice bed of greens, chopped my pear, and added everything to the salad bowl. I gave it a good dusting of pepper before drizzling the vinaigrette over it and tossing it.

Salad with Golden Beet, Pear, Cranberries, and Candied Pecans

A dessert of a salad, ready to eat.


The Verdict:
The beets weren’t that noticeable, honestly, and the salad was a little sweet for me. I love these flavors as a side salad, but I don’t recommend it as a lunch salad unless you’ve got a pretty serious sweet tooth. (Bear in mind that my husband thinks I’ve got a genetic mutation that disables the normal human appreciation for sugary goodness, so if this sounds amazing to you, go for it. There’s a good chance I’m the weirdo, not you.) Regardless, I would have loved this salad if it shared a plate with a really good pork chop and some roasted potatoes.

Make it a Meal:
Done, but not recommended. Serve it on the side with something delectably savory instead.

Pack it to Go:
Apples go in with the dressing to prevent browning. If it’s sitting for a long time, the beets will also brown, so bear that in mind and plan accordingly. As always, add your dressing at the last minute, only as much as you need, fork toss, and enjoy.

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Pear and Candied Walnut Side Salad

Finished Pear and Candied Walnut Side Salad, dressed and ready to toss.

Dinnertime.

I needed a hearty green salad to accompany our steak, sauteed mushrooms, and creamy pasta. I wanted something a little sweet, and with a lot of flavor. I was also eager to try out the candied walnuts I’d picked up the day before at Trader Joe’s.

I settled on a hefty bed of arugula with pears and candied walnuts in a balsamic vinaigrette. I like creamy pears with crunchy nuts, and peppery arugula can definitely stand up to their sweetness. I chose the balsamic vinaigrette because it works so very well with juicy red meat, and I thought the deep flavors would help connect the fruity salad to the savory steak and mushrooms.

Ingredients:
(serves three or four as a very generous side salad)
6 packed cups of arugula.
1 large pear, sliced.
1/2 a cup of candied walnuts.

Dressing:
(use what you need, there may be extra)
1 T of balsamic vinegar.
3 T of extra virgin olive oil.
1/4 tsp of maple syrup.
1 clove of garlic, crushed and minced.
1 pinch of salt, to taste.

After seasoning the steaks and slapping them into my cast iron skillet, I mixed up my vinaigrette, filled the salad bowl with arugula, and tossed a generous handful of candied walnuts over the top. I also put the pasta (leftover from a previous dinner) into the microwave and heated it up. While the steaks rested, I sliced up the pear and added it to the salad. Once the salad was tossed, the steaks were ready for eating, and the pasta was warm. This entire meal went from fridge to table in about fifteen minutes. Which was good, because we were all starving after a very long afternoon at the park with our friends.

The Verdict:
Success! My husband was particularly fond of this combination. The salad was delicious, and it definitely rounded out the plate with vibrant flavor and veggies. The nuts were perfectly crunchy, and the sweet, creamy pear worked really well with the spicy arugula and the tangy balsamic vinaigrette.

Make it a meal:
I think some steak sliced over the top would make a yummy meal. Very hearty and intense.

Pack it to go:
That’s a tricky one. Pears can be put into a larger jar with the dressing, but really ripe ones (like we enjoyed) get pretty darn mushy. In a pinch, I’d do it, but I prefer to pack other fruit. Apples would be a good substitute, though you lose the delightful creaminess of the pears. Regardless, the fruit would definitely need to be tossed in the jar with the dressing to minimize browning. A large container full of greens and walnuts. A jar with dressing and fruit. When you’re ready to eat, just combine, fork toss, and enjoy.

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