Roasted Pear Salad

As if fresh pears weren't delicious enough, this salad "super-heroes" pears into a delicious category unto themselves. They could save the world. They're that good.

This salad paired (hehe, I couldn't resist!) nicely with the 1,000 Layer Lasagna I made for my nephew's first birthday. It looks super fancy, but it comes together pretty easily, especially if you cut the pears into larger chunks.

Roasting the pears takes some time and is the first step. I cut the pears into thin slices because I was serving a crowd, and they turned out divine. The recipe I was following just halved the pears and placed a dollop of jam and cheese in the center where the core used to be. So, you have some options when cutting the pears.

After slicing the pears, I covered them with fig jam and a couple crumbles of goat cheese (it really doesn't get any better than this!) and baked them in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the cheese was a little brown. Then I had to put them out of sight so they could cool without me devouring them.

The fig vinaigrette is slightly sweet with just a hint of tangy sour from lemon juice. I tossed the greens with the dressing before adding any other vegetables or the pears. Less is more for this salad. After all, it is all about the pears.

Roasted Pear Salad
Serves 8 (or so), from Vegetarian Times, October 2010 

4 pears (Bosc, Comice, Concorde or Bartlett are the best for roasting)
1/4 - 1/3 cup fig jam (estimate, depends on how thick you slather it on the pears)
5 ounces goat cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
4 cups salad greens (like watercress or baby arugula; I used a salad mix from our CSA)
1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced
3/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the pears in half or in slices. Spread a layer of jam on each slice. Add a couple chunks of cheese to each slice and place on a baking sheet. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until cheese begins to brown. Set aside to let cool slightly.
  2. Make the dressing: Whisk together 2 tablespoons fig jam, lemon juice, and mustard. Then whisk in the olive oil. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Drizzle most of the dressing along the bottom of a large platter. Top with the greens and toss using tongs until the greens are well covered (but not heavy) with dressing. Sprinkle in the onion and walnuts, tossing to disperse evenly. Lay the pears on top of the greens and serve immediately (as if you could wait any longer to devour those roasted pears anyway!).

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