Serve Green Salad with Pear Dressing for Thanksgiving
Digging into the Thanksgiving Day feast is a joy, but preparing it takes work. This Green Salad with Pear Dressing is a simple but elegant first course, and it will take some of the stress out of the gig. And — bonus! — it's lighter than the usual holiday recipe. How did we do it? By swapping out some of the oil in favor of a very flavorful pear puree.
You can whip up the dressing, toast and chop the nuts, and crumble the cheese several days before the big feast. Then on Turkey Day there's nothing to do but toss the salad, slice the pears and serve. It's the kind of salad that looks very pretty on the plate.
Green Salad with Pear Dressing, Gorgonzola and Toasted Walnuts
Start to finish: 40 minutes (20 active). Servings: 8
1 very ripe small pear, peeled, cored and sliced 1⁄2-inch thick (it should measure 2⁄3- 3⁄4 cup sliced), plus 2 firm ripe pears (preferably red)
1⁄3 cup distilled white vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 1⁄2 tablespoons walnut oil
1⁄8 teaspoon ground black pepper
8 cups loosely packed watercress, arugula or greens of your choice
1⁄2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
4 ounces crumbled Gorgonzola Dolce, Roquefort or blue cheese of your choice
In a small saucepan combine the sliced pear, vinegar, honey and salt; bring to a boil. Simmer until the mixture is reduced to 2⁄3 cup. Let cool slightly, transfer the mixture to a blender and blend until smooth. Add the oil and pepper; pulse one or two times. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if desired.
Core the remaining pears and slice thin. In a large bowl drizzle the watercress with some of the pear dressing and toss well. Mound one-eighth of the salad on each of eight plates and top each portion with the walnuts, Gorgonzola Dolce and sliced pears.
Sara Moulton is host of public television's “Sara's Weeknight Meals.”