Normally when I make salads, I spend no longer than 30 seconds making a basic vinaigrette. Either that or I just use a commercial bottled dressing. Salad dressings are just one of those things I prefer not to spend much time on. When I discovered this recipe, however, I decided give it a try even though the preparation time was longer than I prefer. I quickly discovered that the results were certainly worth the added effort. Fresh thyme and ground black pepper complement the subtle, sweet flavor of the pear in this velvety vinaigrette. I love this dressing over a salad of wild greens, red onion, toasted hazelnuts, and gorgonzola cheese (if you can afford it, use ultra-luxurious gorgonzola dolce). This is a great salad to serve at a fancy autumn or winter dinner party.
Green Salad with Pear Vinaigrette
Grilled Salmon on a bed of Squash Risotto
Oven-Roasted Vegetables
Warm Slices of Grainy Bread


for the vinaigrette...
1 ripe pear
1/2 cup white wine
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1/4 cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil

for the salad...
a nice combination of lettuces, radicchio, spinach, or other wild greens
thin slices of pear
thin slices of sweet red onion
crumbled gorgonzola cheese
a handful of toasted hazelnuts

Cooking Instructions

To make the vinaigrette, peel the pear, cut it into quarters and remove the core. Place the pear pieces in a small pot with the wine. Cook over medium heat, turning the pear pieces to ensure even cooking, until the wine has mostly evaporated and the pear is quite soft. Transfer to a food processor.

Add the garlic, mustard, rice wine vinegar, thyme, salt, and pepper and blend thoroughly. While blending, drizzle in the olive oil slowly until you achieve a thick, emulsified dressing.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the greens with several tablespoons of the vinaigrette. Arrange the greens on a large serving platter. Lay the slices of pear and red onion on the greens in an attractive manner. Top the salad with the cheese and nuts and serve.

Makes about 1 cup of dressing



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elliemay's blog

Most food processors have a hole in the lid through which you can slowly drizzle in the olive oil in order to acheive a thick, emulsified dressing. If yours doesn't, you can transfer the blended pear mixture to a small bowl and slowly drizzle in the olive oil while simultaneously whisking the dressing to achieve the same emulsified effect.

This recipe makes more vinaigrette than you will need. It keeps for several days so reserve the leftover dressing for another day. Try it as an interesting dressing for a fruit salad.

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