By Cat, May 2010 (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)
A salad of greens has become ubiquitous in the American diet, but in recent years many new presentations of this icon have caught our attention, especially as we create our own gardens to produce the freshest of produce.
This wonderful salad combines many flavors for one amazing punch, and is also a beautiful presentation.
Spring Greens with Pears, Toasted Walnuts (or Pecans) and Goat Cheese
This is my own recipe, inspired by salads from several local restaurants. Experiment with different dried or fresh fruits, salad greens, etc.; for example: young colorful leaf lettuce mixes, arugula, spinach for the greens; dried cherries, blueberries or cranberries for dried fruits; sliced tart apple, peaches or plums for fresh fruit.
When my pear tree is ripe, I love using my Bartletts in this salad. Other times of the year I use bosc or comice pears.
You can use halved walnuts/pecans to soak, toast and then chop, or start with chopped walnuts/pecans, then soak and toast them. I make up about a cup of toasted walnuts at a time, and store them in a jar in my fridge. See Soaking, Sprouting & Toasting Nuts & Seeds
I developed the balsamic-basil dressing for this salad. Omit the garlic if you wish, but I think it really helps the flavor as well as your health. It’s best if you make the dressing the day before and let it marinate overnight before using on this salad, to develop the flavors. Shake it well before drizzling.
Ingredients & Equipment:
- 2 – 4 Tbsp toasted & chopped walnuts or pecans
- young salad greens, enough to cover 4 salad plates
- 1 (or more) pear
- 16 small dried fruits, halved (or more to taste)
- 2 Tbsp crumbled chevre or other goat cheese
- balsamic & basil vinaigrette dressing
- baking sheet
- 4 salad plates
- Soak nuts (halved or chopped) overnight; rinse well.
- Spread halved or chopped walnuts on baking sheet and toast at 300 degrees for 15 minutes; chop if necessary and set aside. OR, if you soaked your nuts, roast them at lowest oven setting for 24 hours.
- Wash, dry and spread greens on 4 salad plates.
- Wash pear, cut into halves, lengthwise; scoop out the core with a teaspoon. Cut each half into 12 thin wedges (If pear is small, you will need two pears and cut each halved pear into 6 thin wedges). Arrange 6 wedges on top of each plate of greens in a wheel-spoke pattern
- Scatter dried fruit and toasted nuts on top. Then crumble cheese over all.
- Using a spoon, drizzle dressing over the salads. Serve!