Enjoy Baby Lettuce, Roasted Pear & Candied Walnut Salad as a somewhat elegant starter, a light lunch or as a side with roast chicken, pheasant or pork. Pears are inexpensive & in season during the cooler months. Whether added to a piece of roasting pork to bathe in the pork’s glorious juices; tossed into a stir-fry or featured in a salad for a memorable appetizer, pears transition effortlessly from sweet to savory.
When I first visited America in the spring of 1999, I marveled at salad being served before a meal when dining out. Only to be disappointed to discover that I then had to eat my main meal with just meat & potato. In Australia we serve everything together, unless it’s a starter, allowing you to enjoy mouthfuls of crisp salad (or other obligatory greens) amidst the meat & oft, potatoes or other starch.
Not one to bark at traditions (especially in my adoptive country), I think serving a salad before a meal is a good way of ensuring one is getting some leafy roughage before embarking on the task of consuming a steak as big as the plate it’s served on. It’s common knowledge portions are huge here – this is no exaggeration.
If you’ve not eaten roasted pears in savory form with little more than some gleaming olive oil & a generous dousing of freshly ground black pepper, you’re in for a treat. Roasting intensifies pears’ flavor. Try roasting them with carrots or parsnips as I did in this Maple Roasted Parsnip & Pears recipe.
Do you make new year’s resolutions? I do. Why not? It’s good to set goals & what better time to do it than at the start of a squeaky-clean new year. One of my resolutions this year to is eat a salad before the main meal of an evening ensuring an increase in my hubby’s & my veggie consumption. I will however serve greens with our meal & the steak won’t be as big as the plate, but, when in Rome…
Baby Lettuce, Roasted Pear & Candied Walnut Salad
- 1 large egg white
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- a pinch of ground cinnamon
- 1 cup walnuts
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- pinch of salt & freshly ground pepper
ROASTED PEAR SALAD
- 3 to 4 medium firm but ripe pears, peeled, quartered & cored
- olive oil, for drizzling
- pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 artisan baby lettuce, halved
- 4 oz feta or blue cheese, crumbled
To make the candied walnuts:
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk egg white, sugar & cinnamon in medium bowl. Add walnuts & stir to coat. Spread nut mixture on baking sheet. Cook for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand until cool, mixture will become crisp as it cools. Coarsely chop cooled mixture.
To make the shallot vinaigrette:
- Combine all ingredients in a jar with a screw top lid & shake well.
To make the roasted pear salad:
- line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 375°F(190°C). Place the pears on the baking sheet. Drizzle with a little oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until tender and lightly browned.
- Arrange lettuce, pears, candied walnut and cheese on individual serving plates or a platter. Drizzle with vinaigrette, toss gently & serve