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Pear Salad with Blue Cheese, Walnuts and Pomegranate

Combining mixed baby greens with some favorite elements of a cheese plate, this succulent salad makes a stunning starter. The juicy pomegranate seeds and slightly tart cider dressing brighten toasted walnuts, thin slices of grainy pear and a potent blue cheese. Any variety of blue works here, from mild Gorgonzola to more powerful Stilton and Roquefort, all perfect matches for pear.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g) walnut pieces
  • 3 Tbs. cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 oz. (250 g) mixed baby greens
  • 2 pears, such as Bartlett, cored and sliced
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g) pomegranate seeds
  • 1 oz. (30 g) blue cheese, crumbled

Directions:

In a dry fry pan over medium-low heat, toast the walnut pieces, stirring, until fragrant and starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Pour onto a plate to cool, then coarsely chop and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, honey, mustard, salt and pepper. Add the olive oil in a thin stream, whisking constantly until the dressing is smooth.

Add the greens, pears, pomegranate seeds and walnuts to the bowl with the dressing and toss gently to coat. Divide the salad among 4 plates, garnish with the cheese and serve immediately. Serves 4.

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