Radicchio Salad with Pears, Walnuts and Goat Cheese
Pairing brilliant red radicchio with golden-, green-, or red-skinned pears results in a festive salad that can brighten up any gloomy winter day. Goat cheese and walnuts accompany the radicchio here, but a mild blue and almonds or pistachios can be used in their place.
- 1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g) walnuts
- 2 firm but ripe pears
- 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
- 2 heads radicchio
- 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 6 oz. (185 g) semi-aged goat cheese, such as Bûcheron, or fresh goat cheese, cut into 8
Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C). Spread the walnuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and toast, stirring once or twice, until fragrant and lightly toasted, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a small plate and let cool, then coarsely chop.
Halve and core the pears, cut lengthwise into thin slices and place in a bowl. Drizzle with the lemon juice, toss to coat and set aside. Remove and discard any brown or wilted leaves from the radicchio heads, then separate the bright red leaves from the heads.
To make the dressing, in a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar and 1/4 tsp. salt until emulsified.
Place a few leaves of radicchio on each plate. Arrange the pear slices and cheese on top and sprinkle with the walnuts. Drizzle each salad plate evenly with the dressing, season with pepper and serve immediately. Serves 8.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Two in the Kitchen, by Christie Dufault and Jordan Mackay (Weldon Owen, 2012)