Pears ... the other fall fruit. Pears just don't seem to get their due respect, taking a back seat to apples, which are the symbolic fall fruit. But pears are exceptional in their own right. And even though they do get compared to apples, pears deserve single attention. If you love pears like I do, you know what I mean. Biting into a ripe, juicy pear is a moment to savor.
Pears are great eaten right out of hand, but they're also great in recipes—in sweet ones, like pies and crisps, but also in savory ones. I particularly like pears in salads, cut into slivers, paper-thin slices, or even roasted. Pear salads make an elegant appetizer for any dinner party, especially if you're celebrating the season like I'm doing. Pears are worth celebrating this season.
In this salad, pears join in with celery, endive, walnuts, bleu cheese, and pomegranate seeds. It's a flavorful combination all tied together by a honey and Dijon mustard vinaigrette. To get the pears so thin, start with very form but ripe pears. Use a mandoline to create the paper-thin slices. You can also cut the pears by hand into thin wedges. Enjoy the season!
Shaved Pear, Celery, and Endive Salad with Bleu Cheese, Walnuts, and Pomegranate Seeds
for the vinaigrette:
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
2 teaspoons walnut oil
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
for the salad:
2 medium Comice or Bosc pears
2 tender celery ribs
2 heads endive
1/2 cup crumbled bleu cheese
1/3 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
To make the vinaigrette, whisk together the grapeseed oil, walnut oil, vinegar, lemon juice, honey, and mustard in small bowl or measuring sup. Season with salt and pepper.
Cut the pears in half lengthwise to create manageable pieces. Using a mandoline set to 1/8 inch thickness, slice the pears lengthwise, cutting through the pith. Discard the seeds and stems. Toss the pear slices with a drizzle of the vinaigrette to prevent browning.
Slice the celery at an angle on the mandoline set to 1/8 inch thickness.
Core the endive and cut into 1/2-inch chunks.
In a large bowl, carefully toss together the pear slices, celery slices, and endive with half the remaining vinaigrette. Transfer to a platter or individual plates. Scatter over with bleu cheese, walnuts, and pomegranate seeds. Drizzle over with remaining vinaigrette. Yield: 4 to 6 servings as an appetizer salad.
Joseph Erdos is a New York–based writer and editor, butabove all a gastronomer and oenophile. He shares his passion for foodon his blog, Gastronomer's Guide , which features unique recipes and restaurant reviews among many other musings on the all-encompassing topic of food.
by Chef Mark Shoup