For the most compelling, colorful appearance, if you use a yellow or green apple then try to use a red Bartlett pear; conversely, if you use a red apple, choose a yellow or green pear. Also try to select fruits that are on the small side so the slices won't be unmanageable. You may also use more-assertive greens, such as watercress or arugula, with the mild vinaigrette and sweet-tart fruit.
- 1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
- 3 tablespoons safflower or corn oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons dry vermouth or dry white wine (optional)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon clover or other mild honey, or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 smallish (about 6 ounce) just-ripe unpeeled Bartlett or Anjou pear, halved, cored and cut lengthwise into generous 1/8-inch slices
- 1 smallish (about 6 ounce) crisp, sweet-tart, unpeeled apple, such as braeburn, gravenstein or jonathan, halved, cored and cut lengthwise into generous 1/8-inch slices
- 8 cups lightly packed fresh mesclun or mixed baby greens (may also use watercress or arugula)
- 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Spread the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven to toast, stirring once or twice, until fragrant, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside to cool.
In a small, nonreactive bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, vermouth, mustard, honey, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the ingredients accordingly. (May be made several hours in advance.)
To serve, whisk the vinaigrette to recombine. Slice the pears and apples into a large bowl, drizzle with about 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette and toss gently to coat. Set aside.
Place the greens in a large bowl, drizzle with as much of the remaining vinaigrette as desired and toss gently to coat. Divide the greens evenly among individual salad plates and fan the pear and apple slices, alternating pear and apple, on top of the greens. Sprinkle the toasted walnuts and crumbled cheese over the top. Serve immediately.
From cookbook author Nancy Baggett.
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