Chris' Recipes

Bon Appetite!

Roasted Pear Walnut Salad

Written By: Chris - Jun• 05•14

This is a nice change to a fresh salad!  I’ve been using walnut oil more recently after hearing that  consumption of walnuts or walnut oil has been shown to lower total cholesterol, LDL (bad cholesterol) and the ratio of LDL to HDL (good cholesterol).  Most of the research on the health benefits of walnuts has focused on consumption of the nut itself, although interest in walnut oil has grown over the last decade.  As well as lowering cholesterol, it appears that consuming whole walnuts and walnut oil also reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease in other ways, according to a new study funded by the California Walnut Board.

The walnut oil has a distinct flavor, so I wouldn’t want to use it in everything, but it is great within this salad!  I came up with this recipe based on ingredients that I had on hand in my fridge and pantry and recently served it as part of a dinner we hosted for a quiet evening in with friends Scott and Tanya at our home.  I love the nutty taste of the walnuts and oil along with the brightness of the fresh sweet pears.  The vinaigrette adds a delicious tang with the creamy goat and blue cheese and was perfectly flavorful on the peppery arugula.

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Ingredients:

2 Pears
1/2 Cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Walnut Oil
5 Tablespoons Pear Champaign Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Honey
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Fresh Spinach
Fresh Arugula
1/4 Cup Creamy Blue Cheese, crumbled 
1/4 Cup Goat Cheese, crumbled 
1/2 Cup Walnut Pieces, toasted

I prepared a half of a pear for each person.  Cut the pears and core them, but it’s not necessary to peel them.

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Combine the honey and the vinegar and coat the pears.  Place them cut side down in the liquid allow them to marinate for about two hours in the fridge.

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Preheat oven to 400 degrees and once the pears are marinated, arrange them cut sides up, on a baking sheet and bake for 20 to 30 minutes.

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Meanwhile, combine the left over marinade with the other dressing ingredients with a whisk or in a shaker.  (You may need to add a bit more vinegar and/or honey after tasting.)  Adding the creamy Dijon mustard helps the emulsification ­happen more easily.  You can really flavor your dressing as you see fit and additions can be changed out by using infused vinegar (I used pear flavored), fresh lemon or lime juice, or by adding different fresh herbs, or minced shallots.  Shake vigorously. I often use it right out of the fridge, but I think it’s a bit better at room temperature.

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Place the chopped walnuts on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven until golden brown and fragrant, turning for about five minutes.

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Arrange the plates with fresh spinach and arugula.  Top with the cooled sliced pears, cheese and nuts.  Dress just before serving.

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We enjoyed this salad along side of grilled beef tenderloin over a roasted red pepper sauce, grilled asparagus and garlic butter hash brown potatoes.  We paired our meal with a wonderful 2010 Charbono wine from Summers in Napa Valley, CA that our guests shared!

Enjoy!
Cheers!
~Chris

 

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