Just because fall is here, there is no excuse for not eating fresh and local. Farmers here in Michigan are still selling the last of their harvest and you can get some great deals on local fruit, apples and pears in particular, and an assortment of root vegetables, potatoes, carrots and all varieties of onions.
On one of our recent “no meat” days, I decided that rather than the usual pasta or vegetable soup, we would have a dinner salad. This one turned out pretty good, using only what I had in the pantry. Dinner was ready in 20 minutes. Take that, Rachel.
I used Bosc pears, but any variety of pears or apples could be substituted. Also, I had some local Amish blue cheese but you could use any good quality blue cheese in this dish. I used a mix of lettuces but use whatever you have in the fridge.
Pear and Walnut Salad
6 c. chopped lettuce (Romaine, escarole, endive)
1 Bosc pear, 1″ cubes
1 c. walnut halves, toasted and rough chop
1 c. dried cranberries, soak for 15 min. in hot water
2 slices large red onion, separated into rings
1 c. blue cheese, crumbled
6 slices, french baguette or 3 slices hearty bread halved
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine the first 5 dressing ingredients and whisk to combine thoroughly. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking as you do until all of the oil has been incorporated.
Place the walnut halves on a sheet pan, and toast in the oven for 10 minutes. Be careful not to let them burn. Remove and reserve. Place the bread slices on the pan, drizzle with the tbsp. of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toast for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Chop the lettuce, dice the pear and slice the onion. Drizzle 1 tsp. of the dressing over the pears to keep them from browning. Roughly chop the walnuts.
Place the lettuce in a large bowl and toss with half of the dressing. Divide among 2 dinner plates. Place half of the walnuts, cranberries, red onion and blue cheese on each salad and drizzle with a tbsp. of the reserved dressing. Serve with the toasted bread.