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Pear, Endive and Walnut Salad

Asian pears are a particularly good choice for salads, as they remain crisp when tossed with a vinaigrette. Their aromatic character pairs well with the tartness of a young, soft goat cheese and the richness of a creamy blue, making them a good match for a cheese course (see related recipe at left).

Ingredients:

  • 3 Asian or Bosc pears, halved, cored and cut into
      slices 1/8 inch thick
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 Tbs. sherry vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup walnut halves
  • 3 large heads Belgian endive, cored and cut
      lengthwise into narrow strips

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine the pear slices and lemon juice, and toss to coat the pear slices evenly to prevent them from turning brown.

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard and shallot. Slowly add the olive oil while whisking constantly to make a vinaigrette. Continue to whisk until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.

In a small, dry fry pan over medium heat, toast the walnuts, shaking the pan often, until they start to brown and smell aromatic, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a small dish and set aside.

Add the endive to the bowl with the pears. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and toss to coat evenly. Divide the salad evenly among salad plates. Top each serving with an equal number of walnut halves. Serve immediately. Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Entertaining, by George Dolese (Oxmoor House, 2004).