I'm a big mushroom lover, whether they're raw or cooked, in salads, soups, eggs or stews, but my latest, greatest way to use them is in this salad. The mushrooms are roasted just long enough to enhance their natural flavors. They sit on a bed of assorted greens, and the ginger-pear dressing adds the right balance to pull the whole thing together. This is one of those dishes I could make for my own dinner or serve proudly at a dinner party.
Roasted pear forms the base of a dressing that will surprise with its affinity for the mushrooms. I like to add a couple of tablespoons of oil to the dressing for texture and mouth feel, but they can be omitted if you need to keep the fat and calorie count low.
- 8 ounces assorted mushrooms, such as trumpet, oyster, cremini and button, cleaned and cut into slices
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 ripe Bartlett pear, peeled and cored
- 1/2- to 3/4-inch piece peeled ginger root, grated (2 teaspoons), or to taste
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1/8 teaspoon sugar
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 5 ounces assorted salad greens (about 6 loosely packed cups)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, then spray it lightly with the nonstick cooking oil spray.
On one half of the sheet, toss the mushrooms with 1 tablespoon of the oil and 1/8 teaspoon salt, then spread the mushrooms into a single layer.
Place the pear halves, cut sides down, on the other side of the sheet. (If the baking sheet is too small for this, use a second one.) Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender and have started to brown and the pear is tender.
Let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer the pear halves (they will probably break apart; that's fine) to a blender. Add the ginger, the remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, the vinegar, sugar and pepper to taste. Blend on low speed while adding the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, then blend on medium speed to emulsify. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed.
To serve, place about 1 1/2 cups of the salad greens on each individual salad plate. Top each portion with mushrooms. Spoon about 2 to 3 tablespoons of the dressing over each salad.
From columnist Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.
Tested by Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at firstname.lastname@example.org.