Combining mixed baby greens with some favorite elements of a winter cheese plate, this succulent salad makes a stunning starter. The juicy pomegranate seeds and slightly tart cider dressing brighten toasted walnuts, thin slices of grainy pear and a potent blue cheese. Any variety of blue works here, from mild Gorgonzola to more powerful Stilton and Roquefort, all perfect matches for pear.
Winter Pear Salad with Blue Cheese, Walnuts and Pomegranate
1⁄3 cup (1 1⁄2 oz./45 g) walnut pieces
For the cider dressing:
3 Tbs. cider vinegar
1 Tbs. honey
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
8 oz. (250 g) mixed baby greens
2 pears such as Bartlett, cored and sliced
1⁄2 cup (2 oz./60 g) pomegranate seeds
1 oz. (30 g) blue cheese, crumbled
In a dry frying pan, toast the walnut pieces over medium-low heat, stirring, until fragrant and starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Pour onto a plate to cool, then coarsely chop and set aside.
To make the dressing, in a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, honey, mustard, 1⁄4 tsp. salt, and 1⁄8 tsp. pepper. Add the oil in a thin stream, whisking constantly until the dressing is smooth.
Add the greens, pears, pomegranate seeds and walnuts to the bowl of dressing and mix gently to coat. Divide the salad among individual plates, garnish each with some cheese crumbles and serve. Serves 4.
Find more vibrant and versatile salads for every season in our cookbook Salad of the Day, by Georgeanne Brennan.