Fall in Umbria is a magical time with fall festivals held around the region each weekend celebrating ingredients such as mushrooms, truffles, olive oil, and chestnuts. As the weather turns cooler, we start to prepare heartier soups, meaty pasta dishes, and polenta makes an appearance once again. At the farmer’s markets, there is a myriad of options for winter greens, bitter salad greens, winter squash, pears, and apples. I was shopping at the local market in Deruta recently, and I came across a gorgeous selection of pears, and I just had to buy some. I initially was considering baking a spiced pear coffee cake, but as I had also bought a bag full of colorful bitter salad greens, I decided to create a fall salad for lunch using my fresh pears and salad greens.
My pears were not quite ripe enough to use raw, so I roasted them for a short period. Roasting the pears caramelizes the natural sugars and really brings out their flavor. Along with color and flavor, I love my salads to have texture, so I added some lightly toasted walnuts along with some tart pomegranate arils. To dress this salad, I knew that the bitter greens could hold up to a zesty vinaigrette, so I created a balsamic dressing with just a touch of Dijon mustard. To serve, I topped the salad with some Gorgonzola cheese pieces, which paired perfectly with the greens, roasted pears, and Gorgonzola cheese. Although we enjoyed this salad at lunch, it would be a lovely starter for any special fall dinner, including Thanksgiving.
Deborah Mele 2019
For The Pears:
- 4 Firm Slightly Under Ripe Pears
- 1 tablespoon Butter, Melted
- 1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
- 8 Cups Salad Greens (I Used Radicchio, Escarole, & Arugula), Washed, Dried, & Torn Into Pieces
- 6 Green Onions, Finely Chopped
- 1/2 Cup Gorgonzola Cheese Crumbles
- 3/4 Cup Lightly Toasted Chopped Walnuts
- 3/4 Cup Pomegranate Arils
- 3 Tablespoons Good Quality Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup or Honey
- 1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
- 1/2 to 3/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt & Pepper To Taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Cut the pears into thin wedges and remove the stems and cores.
- Toss the sliced pears with the melted butter and brown sugar and then lay the pears down side by side on the prepared pan.
- Roast for 10 minutes or just until the pear slices are tender.
- Set aside to cool.
- While the pears are cooling, whisk to gather the dressing ingredients with 1/2 cup oil in a small bowl until blended.
- Taste, and adjust seasoning and olive oil as needed.
- Place the salad greens and onions in a bowl, then toss with the dressing.
- Arrange the greens on four individual plates, then arrange the pear slices on top.
- Sprinkle the salads with the chopped walnuts and pomegranate arils, then divide the Gorgonzola cheese between the four plates.
- Serve immediately & enjoy!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 540Total Fat: 43gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 32gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 363mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 6gSugar: 22gProtein: 10g