ROASTED PEAR & APPLE WINTER GREENS SALAD
Eating seasonally in New England makes it necessary to find ways to prepare storage fruits and vegetables in interesting ways. Roasting pears and apples caramelizes their edges and changes the fruits' texture. Tossed with hearty winter greens, toasted nuts, some salty cheese and a simple vinaigrette, this colorful preparation may just cause some serious cravings. Coming home after my daughter's hockey practice, I was surprised to find only half a baking tray full of fruit. It seems that some nibbling and noshing took place before dinner. Oh well, at least it was probably the healthiest snack in the house.
To avoid steaming and ensure dark caramel color on the fruit, leave plenty of space between each slice of pear and apple. Red and green varieties of Bartlett, D'Anjou, and Bosc pears roast well. Avoid roasting pears such as Comice as they are so juicy that caramelization is nearly impossible. A combination of baby kale, baby spinach, baby radicchio, frisee, and tatsoi is delicious. Any salty cheese would be delicious--tiny cubes of aged Manchego, feta, or even goat cheese pairs nicely with roasted fruit and walnuts. The salad greens may be made on a large platter, but wait to toss with the dressing until just before serving and then add the fruit, nuts and cheese. If walnut oil is unavailable, substitute a light olive oil.
2 firm ripe pears, unpeeled
2 red apples, unpeeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
2 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped
6 cups sturdy winter baby greens (kale, spinach, radicchio, etc.)
1/2 cup Point Reyes blue cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup walnut oil
1/3 cup shallots, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon lime zest
1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice, freshly squeezed
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
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1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
2. Slice the apples and pears in half from top to bottom. Remove core and seeds and slice into 1/4" wedges.
3. On a half sheet baking tray, toss the pears, apples with the olive oil to coat. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and arrange the fruit into a single layer.
4. Place in oven to roast. After about 12 minutes, use a spatula to flip the fruit to insure even browning. Cook for approximately 20 to 25 minutes or until the edges of the fruit are dark and caramelized. Remove from the oven and let cool.
5. Wash and spin dry greens and place in a salad bowl. Add the crumbled cheese and set aside.
6. Heat the walnut oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and a pinch of sea salt and stir until softened and turning golden brown, about 2 to 4 minutes.
7. Add the ginger and cook until fragrant. Remove from the heat and let the oil cool for 5 minutes.
8. In a small glass bowl, whisk the vinegar, maple syrup, lime juice, zest, parsley, and mustard together. Season with sea salt and several grinds of black pepper. Whisk the warm oil into the vinegar mixture until emulsified. Check for seasoning and add more lime juice if needed.
9. Just before serving, toss a bit of the dressing with the salad greens until very lightly coated. Transfer the greens to individual salad plates and arrange the fruit on top of the greens. Sprinkle with the toasted almonds and pass a pitcher of the dressing at the table.
SERVES 4 to 6