Roasted Pear Salad with Pumpkin Seeds & Chèvre

IMG_8956A robust winter salad can break the monotony of root vegetables and mash. This roasted pear over crisp greens salad with a sprinkling of seeds makes a lovely starter. We recently served this salad to a group of sixty, and it was so simple to do for a large group, but its taste and presentation make it special.

It is shown here with a light Crème Fraîche dressing, but is also very good served with a Balsamic Maple Dressing.

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 Bartlett pears, just ripe

Olive oil

Salt & pepper

Romaine lettuce

⅓ c roasted pumpkin seeds

4 oz Chèvre or soft Blue Cheese

Crème Fraîche dressing or Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette (both recipes follow)

Directions

Preheat oven to 325°

Roast the pumpkin seeds:

Put the pumpkin seeds on a small parchment lined baking sheet, and drizzle with a tiny bit of oil (about ½ t). Toss with your fingers, and lightly season them if desired.

Cook for 10 – 12 minutes, tossing occasionally.

Remove from oven and reserve.

Increase oven temperature to 400°

Cut the pears in half, lengthwise.IMG_8937

Pull the stem gently towards the center of one half, pulling up the threads of the core.IMG_8938

Using a teaspoon, gently scoop out the round core, which will still be attached to the threads.IMG_8939

On the other half of the pear, push the teaspoon gently along under the threads towards the core, freeing the threads.

IMG_8942Scoop that half’s core out.IMG_8944

Thinly pare off the peel, removing the blossom at the end.IMG_8940

IMG_8945Crosscut each pear, slightly on the diagonal into ¼” slices, leaving the pear shape intact.IMG_8946

Using a spatula, lift the pears to a parchment lined baking dish or sheet.IMG_8947

IMG_8948Baste with olive oil, and season with salt & pepperIMG_8950

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly browned, and the slices are just starting to pull away from each other.IMG_8953

Let the pears rest on the baking sheet for up to 2 hours at room temperature.

To serve:

Trim, and halve lengthwise, a small head of romaine lettuce.

Crosscut into ½” pieces, and wash. Spin dry or blot dry with a cloth.

Divide the lettuce between four salad plates.

Using a spatula move one pear half to each plate.

Slightly fan each pear half once it’s in place on the lettuce.

Scatter a quarter of the cheese around the pear on each plate.

Sprinkle each salad with a portion of the roasted pumpkin seeds.

Drizzle with the dressing of your choice, and serve.

IMG_8956

Dressings:

Crème Fraîche Dressing with Chèvre

⅓ c Crème Fraîche

1½ T white wine vinegar

1 oz / 55 gr crumbled chèvre or blue cheese

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Whisk together, or pulse a couple of times in a small processor.

Store covered in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette

1 Garlic clove, pressed

1 T maple syrup

1 T Balsamic vinegar

1 T Red wine vinegar

1 t Dijon

¼ olive oil

salt

Whisk together until emulsified.

Store covered in the fridge for up to a week.

 

Click here for printable version.

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