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Watercress, Pear and Goat Cheese Salad with Sherry Vinaigrette

Watercress, Pear and Goat Cheese Salad with Sherry Vinaigrette
If preferred, a mix of young, tender salad greens can be used in place of the watercress, while Bosc pears can stand in for the Bartletts. And, if you like, a cow's milk cheese such as a mild Gorgonzola dolcelatte can replace the goat cheese.

Ingredients:

  • 3 firm but ripe Bartlett pears
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 2 or 3 bunches watercress, long stems removed
      (about 8 cups)
  • 1/2 cup moist dried pitted sweet cherries

For the vinaigrette:

  • 6 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. sherry wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 5 oz. semifirm mild-aged goat cheese (chèvre),
      cut into small pieces

Directions:

Peel, halve and core the pears, then cut each half into 4 wedges.

As the pears are cut, place them in a large bowl and sprinkle with the lemon juice. Add the watercress and cherries.

To make the vinaigrette, in a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, sherry vinegar, salt and pepper until blended.

Drizzle the vinaigrette over the watercress mixture, then toss to coat evenly. Divide the salad among individual plates. Add the goat cheese to the salads, distributing it evenly. Serve immediately.
Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, Holiday Celebrations, by Marie Simmons (Time-Life Books, 1998).