What goes into a great salad? For me, beyond the obvious good greens, the best salads have at least three of the following characteristics: sweet, savory (or salty), creamy, and/or crunchy.
Need an example? Classic Caesar has salty anchovies, creamy dressing, and crunchy croutons. Spinach with Hot Bacon Dressing has sweet sour dressing, savory bacon, creamy egg and crunchy water chestnuts. And Bok Choy Salad has crisp ramen, savory red onion and sweet dressing.
Of course a salad with all four rocks! So when I saw the beautiful Warm Pear and Hazelnut Salad (originally from Canadian Living ) made by Beth from Of Muses and Meringues, I could tell it was a winner.
The salad includes creamy & salty Cambozola cheese (a triple cream blue–think of brie with a zippy blue bonus), crunchy toasted hazelnuts, and sweet sautéed pears–spread artfully over flavorful arugula that has been drizzled with a homemade dressing. Since my middle (really picky) daughter won’t touch arugula, I made hers with red leaf lettuce and she said that this salad was so good, she’d even have eaten the arugula. And if that wasn’t enough she looked up, smiling, and said, “wouldn’t it be good to do a week of salads for your blog?”
The original recipe served 12, so I cut it down to feed the four of us. Except for the dressing since I always like to have leftover homemade dressing!
Warm Pear and Hazelnut Salad
- 1/2 Tbsp butter
- 1 firm ripe pear (such as Bartlett), cored and cut in 1/4 inch thick slices
- 1/2 Tbsp sherry or white wine vinegar
- 1/2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
- 3 T olive oil
- 2 T sherry vinegar (I used white wine vinegar, with a teaspoon of sherry)
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp honey
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Dash of black pepper
- 6 cups baby arugula
- 2 ounces Cambozola cheese, broken in chunks
- 1/4 cup skinned toasted hazelnuts
1. In skillet, melt butter over medium heat and add brown sugar and 1/2 T of vinegar. Add pear slices and cook until fork-tender, about 3 minutes. Keep warm.
2. Whisk together olive oil, 2 Tbsp vinegar, mustard, honey, salt and black pepper. Toss with arugula. Divide among four plates. Sprinkle with cheese, hazelnuts and warm pears.