This salad is quick and easy to put together and yet it tastes like something you’d get in a nice upscale restaurant. The pear seems to cut a bit of the salty taste of the Gorgonzola, and the walnuts add a nice crunchy texture. Topped with a raspberry-poppy seed dressing, well, let’s say this one is a keeper.
- 1 ripe pear
- 1/4 cup walnut pieces, unsalted
- 1 oz Gorgonzola cheese
- Bunch of lettuce, preferably a mix, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
Pears from the store are not normally ripe. Leave them out on the counter until the neck just begins to soften, them place them in the crisper drawer. For this salad, we used organic Bartlett pears. Our lettuce happened to come from our CSA, so it was a nice mix of different lettuces. Use what you like, except iceberg, which is nothing more than green colored, crispy water in a plant; baby spinach would be especially good.
Slice the pear. To get nice- looking slices, we quarter the pear lengthwise, then core each quarter. Placing a quarter on one of the cut edges, we make slices about 1/8 inch thick. Since it was an organic pear, no need to peel, but you could if you wanted.
Arrange the pears on each salad plate in a circular pattern near the edge. You’ll want your salad to look like it’s sitting on a ring of pear slices. With only one pear, we decided to go with a simple radial pattern with each slice pointing toward the center.
Mound the lettuce in the center of the plate, and distribute the walnuts over the top. You could mix them in, but we chose to go with a small mound of walnuts right on top of the lettuce.
Cut a thin long slice of Gorgonzola and carefully set it right on top. No reason, other than it looks nice. Once you dig in, you’ll crumble it anyway, but at first you can get larger or smaller pieces of the Gorgonzola to go with each bite. At this stage you can place the salads in the refrigerator for up to 1/2 hour while you get the rest of dinner ready. Or set the table. Or get drinks. Whatever you need to do.
That’s it. Now, let’s make the dressing.
- 1 Tbs raspberry-infused vinegar
- 2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp poppy seeds
- 1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
- Pinch salt
- Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
Note the ratio of oil to vinegar is 2 to 1. If you’ve read this blog, you know that that’s key for a vinaigrette. Everything else is gravy. If you don’t have raspberry-infused vinegar (we’ll show you how to make that sometime in the future), use a red wine vinegar instead.
Like almost every other vinaigrette, just put all the ingredients in a bowl, and whisk briskly for about a minute. Done. We’ll never understand why people buy salad dressings with all those weird ingredients (carrageenan, xanthan gum, high fructose corn syrup, … , the list seems endless) when it takes two minutes to whisk up a fresh dressing every time. Of course, you don’t buy them, you scratch them.
Drizzle it over the salad immediately before serving.
This salad has such a nice combination of flavors, looks great, and it’s sooo easy, we give it 5 stars in the “Worth it?” rating.