This month of September we already begin to see a lot of pears at the market so of course, a pear and walnut salad is in order. One of my favorite things to do in the fall is add pears in a salad.
For convenience you can use prewashed and bagged spring mix greens. For me it’s more interesting to taste the variety of healthful flavors from different greens. The mix contains lettuces, mizuna, beet tops, arugula, chard, spinach, frizee, radicchio, mustard greens, and tatchoi. Sometimes I also love using just arugula in this recipe.
As for the flavor bomb, the secret is the French vinaigrette with shallot, dijon mustard, olive oil and red wine vinegar. A hint of honey balances out the tangy mustard and vinegar. For something crunchy I add toasted walnuts. Then of course, goat cheese to add some creamy deliciousness. I suggest you make a big batch of this lovely dressing and keep it in the fridge for more salad meals. It keeps for 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
What I love about this pear and walnut salad recipe is its versatility. In the summer I can add tomatoes and cucumbers instead of the pears. During the holidays it’s a real show-stopper once you add fresh persimmons, apples, dried cranberries or fresh pomegranates for Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Preheat the oven at 350ºF degrees with the rack in the middle. Place the walnuts in a small baking sheet and toast it in the oven for 6-7 minutes. Let cool. Coarsely chop the walnuts.
Make the dressing: in a small bowl whisk together Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, shallot, honey, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste until smooth. Then add olive oil slowly while whisking. (This process can be done using a food processor) Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to your taste. Set aside.
Cut pears in half lengthwise, core and slice it to 1/8 inch thick.
Place salad greens in a platter. Arrange sliced pears on top of greens. Crumble goat cheese on top. Sprinkle toasted walnuts over the salad.
When ready to serve, add the dressing and toss together.