Amy’s Fall Pear Salad

Photo of Amy’s Fall Pear Salad on a white plateThe other fall fruit
When you think about the Fall season, a lot of things immediately come to mind—fallen leaves, Halloween, pumpkin spice, and, of course, apples. Apple cider, caramel apples, apple cider donuts…you get the picture. There are some people out there that picture something different. Something that is quintessentially Fall, yet is overshadowed by the mainstream. I give you the pear

I admit that I am most likely to reach for an apple than a pear but don’t take that to mean I don’t like them. My daughter is a pear fanatic. We are lucky enough that there is a pear farm only a few miles from where we live and my daughter waits impatiently every year for those pears to be at their peak. I admit they are ridiculously good. My daughter likes to put the pears in her lunch and eat them straight. I prefer to eat them in something sweet or, more often than not, with cheese.

There is something about the delicate flavor of pears that matches so well with cheese especially a strong cheese like a blue cheese or gorgonzola. Something about that pair (yes, pun intended), to me, is the epitome of fall flavor. While I am a big fan of a 4 o’clock cheese plate complete with pears, whatever cheese I have on hand, some nuts, and a drizzle of honey—my go-to vessel for pear consumption is a lightly dressed salad of crunchy butter lettuce or, again, whatever I have on hand. Arugula also works well…or a mix.

There are endless combinations for pears in salads. Nine times out of ten, my salad will have pears, blue cheese, pecans, and pomegranate seeds finished off with a Dijon vinaigrette. Sometimes I add citrus instead of the pomegranate seeds. Sometimes I add thinly sliced red onion. Sometimes I swap the pecans for hazelnuts. A handful of dried cranberries is a tasty addition as well…

Below is my basic fall pear salad recipe. Play with it as you see fit.

Amy’s Fall Pear Salad
Yields 4 Servings

1 package Organic Girl Butter Plus Greens (my favorite), or 1 head of your favorite leaf lettuce
2 to 3 pears, depending on size
5 ounces blue cheese or gorgonzola cheese
1/2 cup pecans or hazelnuts
3 tablespoons red wine or apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon shallots
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/3 cup olive oil

Optional additions: pomegranate seeds, dried cranberries, citrus sections, thinly sliced red onion, or walnuts.

Prep the ingredients
Core and thinly slice the pears leaving the peels on (‘cause it’s prettier). Toast and coarsely chop the nuts. Finely chop the shallots. Crumble the cheese. If you are using a head of lettuce, tear the leaves into manageable pieces.

Make the dressing
Combine the vinegar, honey, mustard, shallots, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil.

Make the Salad
In a large serving bowl, layer the lettuce, pears, cheese, and any other additions. Pour the dressing over the salad, and toss gently. Sprinkle it with toasted nuts, and serve.

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