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Mesclun and Roasted Pears with Grainy Mustard Vinaigrette

Grainy mustard, more robust and less pungent than some other varieties, is delicious mixed with apple juice and cider vinegar in this dressing. The pears turn sweet when roasted, and toasted pumpkin seeds add an appealing crunch. Try this salad with roasted apples or Asian pears as well.

Ingredients:

  • 3 firm pears, preferably Anjou or Bosc
  • 2 Tbs. plus 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
  • 3 Tbs. pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbs. apple juice
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 2 tsp. whole-grain mustard
  • 1 1/2 tsp. firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste
  • 2 large Belgian endives
  • 4 heaping cups (4 oz./125 g) mesclun

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 400°F (200°C).

Cut the pears in half lengthwise, then core and slice lengthwise about 1/2 inch (12 mm) thick. Put the slices on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with the 2 Tbs. olive oil, sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. of the salt and toss to coat. Arrange in a single layer and roast for 20 minutes. Carefully turn the slices over and continue to roast until they are golden brown and tender but still hold their shape, about 20 minutes. Let cool.

Meanwhile, in a dry fry pan over medium-low heat, toast the pumpkin seeds, stirring, until starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Pour into a bowl and stir in a pinch of salt.

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, apple juice, shallot, mustard, brown sugar, the remaining 1/4 tsp. salt and the 1/8 tsp. pepper. Add the 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) olive oil in a thin stream, whisking constantly until the dressing is smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Slice the endives crosswise. In a large bowl, toss together the endive, mesclun, a big pinch of salt and several grindings of pepper. Whisk the dressing to recombine, then drizzle about half of it over the greens and toss well. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Divide the greens among 4 individual plates. Arrange the roasted pear slices on top and drizzle with enough of the dressing to coat the greens lightly; you may not need all of it. Sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds and serve immediately. Serves 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Salad of the Day, by Georgeanne Brennan (Weldon Owen, 2012).