If I were officially developing a pear salad, I'd naturally combine the sweetness of pears with peppery arugula. But this salad was an unexpected, delicious accident- I randomly teamed up pears with baby spinach after rummaging through my fridge for ingredients. The results were surprising- and amazing. I did know that fragrant ripe pears are lovely when caramelized, and I added some of the juice from the caramelized pears to the vinaigrette to lend the dressing a pear-infused taste.
I love testing my recipes on large crowds, and when we attended a fabulous dinner party hosted by Yali, I was presented with the perfect opportunity to test this recipe. Yali is the designer of ziccibea.com linens and her highly creative approach, whether with food or linens, is always fresh, clean, and never boring. So when Yali suggested that we should plate the salad individually as an appetizer instead of serving it in the center of the table, it was the perfect idea- and all the plates were wiped clean.
Dairy Version: Sprinkly the salad with grated goat or feta cheese before serving.
- 2 large Anjou pears, peeled, cored, and cut lengthwise into eighths -
- 1/4 cup lemon juice -
- 1/4 cup brown sugar -
- 1/3 cup oil -
- 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar -
- 1 Tbsp. honey -
- 2 tsp. Dijon mustard -
- 1 clove garlic, minced -
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt -
- 1/8 tsp. fresh black pepper -
- Juice from the caramelized pears -
- 10 oz. baby spinach -
- 1 cup honey-glazed pecans -
- 3/4- 1 cup Craisins -
- 1 cup pomegranate seeds -
1. Preheat the oven to 425° F. Dip the flat sides of the sliced pears in the lemon juice and then in the brown sugar. In a large baking pan, arrange the pears in a single layer and roast for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Cut each pear wedge into 1-inch slices. (Make sure to reserve the pear juice that was released during the roasting for the dressing.)
2. To prepare the dressing: In a small bowl, vigorously whisk together the oil, vinegar, honey, mustard, garlic, salt, black pepper, and the reserved pear juice until well combined.
3. In a large salad bowl, combine the baby spinach, pears, glazed pecans, and Craisins. Toss with the dressing and sprinkle evenly with the pomegranate seeds. Serve immediately. Serves 6–8.