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Winter Greens with Roasted Pears and Pecorino

Kale, sorrel and mizuna from your local farmers’ market make a good, pleasantly bitter mix to accompany the sweet roasted pear, but you can use any sturdy cool-weather greens you like. If the greens are a bit tough, immerse them in salted boiling water for a few seconds, then dunk them in an ice bath to halt the cooking, or shred them finely.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup pine nuts  
  • 1 firm but ripe Bosc pear, halved and cored 
  • 1 tsp. olive oil  
  • 1/4 tsp. table salt 
  • 4 handfuls mixed winter greens, tough stems removed, leaves torn or cut into bite-size pieces  
  • 1/2 cup coarsely grated pecorino cheese  
  • 2 Tbs. Champagne vinegar 
  • 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard 
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped 
  • 1/4 cup nut oil, such as walnut, almond or pecan 
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

In a small, dry fry pan over medium heat, toast the pine nuts, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and immediately pour onto a plate to cool; the nuts can burn quickly. Set aside.

Cut each pear half into 6 thin wedges. In a bowl, toss the pear wedges with the olive oil and table salt. Arrange the pears in a single layer in a baking pan or on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and, using tongs, gently turn the pears over. Continue roasting until the pears are tender and slightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes more. Let cool.

In a shallow salad bowl, combine the greens, pine nuts and cheese and toss to mix.

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard and shallot. Add the nut oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly until a smooth, emulsified dressing forms. Season with sea salt and pepper.

Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat thoroughly. Top with the roasted pear slices, season with a few grinds of pepper and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

Double for a crowd: This dish is a cinch to increase (just go a little light on the oil) and also holds up well. Serve it with roasted chicken, crunchy bread and a carafe of red wine for a winter dinner party.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Good Food to Share, by Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan (Weldon Owen, Inc., 2010).