November 30, 2008
After a full (really full) weekend of turkey, stuffing, pie, mashed potatoes and more pie, I'm thinking it's time to lighten things up a bit- perhaps some salad days are in order. Like this salad I enjoyed on a recent fall evening during a lovely meal cooked by some even lovelier ladies. We all share passion for good food and wine and I could have sat at that kitchen island all night chatting, drinking white wine, swapping recipes and stories. We began the meal with a salad of manchego cheese and Pears. Simple and seasonal, it was perfect shared with friends in a cozy kitchen on a fall evening. Make it with, or for, your friends.
Green Salad with Manchego and Pears
adapted from Gourmet Magazine, November 2007
1/3 cup green (hulled) pumpkin seeds (pepitas; not toasted)**
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
3 tbs Sherry vinegar
1 tsp honey
1 tsp grainy mustard
4 cups packed salad greens
4 cups packed frisée (French curly endive), torn into bite-size pieces
1 cup Shaved Manchego cheese
4 Bartlett pears
Cook seeds in 1 tablespoon oil in a small heavy skillet over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until puffed and beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels and reserve oil. Season seeds with salt and pepper.
Whisk together vinegar, honey, mustard, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Add remaining 1/3 cup olive oil and reserved oil from skillet in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified.
Divide greens and cheese among salad plates. Cut off 2 opposite sides of each pear (reserve for another use), leaving a 1/2-inch-thick lengthwise center slice with stem and core. Arrange a pear slice on each plate and drizzle dressing over salads. Sprinkle with seeds.
**When recreating this salad at home, I substituted slices almonds for the pepitas.