Pear Salad with Creamy Walnut Vinaigrette
This Pear Salad with Creamy Walnut Vinaigrette is just about the first thing I make when gorgeous pears show up in my grocery store. The star of this fall salad is a whole pear that’s been thinly sliced and stacked so you can still see the shape of the fruit; it’s beautiful enough for the holidays. I love to serve pears this way in a salad because it retains their pretty shape, and makes such an elegant presentation. You can slice the pears with a very sharp knife and a steady hand, or you can do it the easy way, on a mandolin slicer. What’s fun about the mandolin is that it will slice through the pear and the stem, so you get a great look to your salad. Just stack the slices and fan them out slightly for this pretty presentation.
Walnuts and blue cheese are classic pairings with pears, but I took it a step further with my creamy walnut vinaigrette. I used walnut oil, which is so aromatic, and provides a nice change from the ubiquitous olive oil dressings. This recipe becomes ‘creamy’ because the oil emulsifies with the mustard and vinegar in a small food processor. I drizzle the oil in slowly while the machine is running which fuses everything together into a creamy dressing that will not separate.
- 2-3 ripe but firm pears
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 4 cups arugula or other baby lettuce
- 4 Tbsp walnuts
- 4-8 Tbsp crumbled blue cheese or gorgonzola cheese
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 3 Tbsp walnuts
- 3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup walnut oil
- salt and black pepper to taste