Pan-Roasted Pear Salad with Parmesan and Pecans
Farmguy and I enjoy salads all year long–mainly, because they’re healthy and don’t take too long to prepare. Salads with roasted vegetables and/or fruit are our favorites. Roasting adds so much flavor and helps create a more satisfying meal.
For this pear salad recipe, carmelizing the pears on top of the stove prevents them from becoming overcooked–as they do when oven-roasted. The balsamic vinegar is used to make a fruity vinaigrette that accentuates the pears’ flavor. In addition, a couple of extra tablespoons of the vinegar is stirred into the hot pan while cooking the pears, creating a glazy coating. For the greens, a mix of crunchy, mild green leaf lettuce works well. Add salty Parmesan to offset the pears’ natural sweetness and pecans for buttery richness. And, you have a lovely autumn salad with lots of appeal!
Finding a suitable wine pairing for salad can sometimes be challenging, especially when balsamic vinegar is involved. However, this salad pairs well with sparkling wine, specifically Mumm Napa Brut Prestige. In 2014, Wine Spectator ranked this sparking wine number 54 in their Top 100 Wines of the Year. Mumm Napa Brut Prestige is also reasonable–about $24-25 a bottle. Enjoy!
Pan-Roasted Pear Salad with Parmesan and Pecans:
*Use organic ingredients when possible
1 1/2 pounds pears, quartered lengthwise and cored
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 small shallot, minced
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 small head green leaf lettuce
(4 ounces), torn into 1-inch pieces
or loose mixed greens
1 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons chopped pecans, toasted
–Toss pears with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add pears in single layer, cut side down, and cook until golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes, flipping them halfway through cooking.
–Turn off heat, leaving skillet on burner, and add 2 tablespoons vinegar to skillet. Gently stir until vinegar becomes glazy and coats pears, about 30 seconds. Transfer pears to large plate and let cool completely, about 45 minutes. Cut each pear quarter crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces.
–Whisk remaining 4 teaspoons oil, remaining 4 teaspoons vinegar, shallot, and sugar in large bowl until well combined. Add lettuce and cooled pears and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste, sprinkle with Parmesan and pecans, and serve.