Winter Pear Salad: A Gifted Dish
The good, among the bad and the ugly of the refrigerator.
After the holidays, my refrigerator can resemble a food morgue with rows of Tupperware caskets sealing in freshness or fuzzy blue mold as the case may be. After deciding to exhume the bad dishes of Christmas past and make way for a culinary New Year, I was delighted to rediscover some epicurean gifts tucked among the sarcophagi of scary leftovers: Oregon Comice pears from Leslie and Olivia; fresh Georgia pecans from my Mom and Dad; a slab of Shropshire Blue from Tamara; a voluptuous carafe of aged balsamic from Denise; and a meaty ham bone from this resident ham bone. As culinary kismet would have it, I had everything I needed to make one of my favorite winter salads–a gifted dish indeed.
Recipe: Winter Pear Salad
- 3 peeled Comice pears (or Bosc or D’Anjou pears)
- 1/2 cup of chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup of crumbled Shropshire Blue cheese (or Stilton or blue cheese)
- 1 cup of chopped ham (or omit for vegetarian status)
- 1 T. of aged balsamic vinegar
- 1 T. of olive oil
- Ground pepper to taste
- Chop cored peeled pears into bite-sized pieces.
- Add pears to salad bowl
- Add chopped pecans
- Add crumbled cheese
- Add chopped ham
- Drizzle balsamic and olive oil over mixture
- Toss, let it sit for a couple minutes and toss again to incorporate released pear juice
- Pepper to taste
- Serves 4 as side salads, or 2 as dinner salads
I love this salad and make variations of it all winter. Ripe pears make it sing, blue cheese adds vibrato, nuts provide percussion and ham packs a salty punch. Experiment with your favorite fruits, cheeses and nuts. Sometimes I mix in wild salad greens or Boston bibb lettuce, that is when the contents of my crisper don’t resemble sea kelp.
PS–My blog pal Stacey also offers up a delicious variation of a pear salad on her site.