Pears are a favorite in our family. Now is the time to make this salad, when locally grown arugula and pears are available.
Arugula and Roasted Pear Salad with Walnuts and Parmesan Cheese
slightly adapted from November 2000 Cooks Illustrated
Warm pears work nicely in this salad, too.
For the roasted pears:
4 firm Anjou or Bartlett pears (about 2 pounds)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
For the salad:
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
Ground black pepper
2 bunches arugula, stems removed, washed, dried, and torn into bite-sized pieces (about 7 cups)
4 ounces Parmesan cheese, shaved into thin strips with a vegetable peeler
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped and toasted in a skillet over medium heat until lightly browned and fragrant, about 3 minutes
For the pears:
Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position, place a non-stick baking sheet on the rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees.
Peel and halve each pear lengthwise and remove the core. Set each half cut-side down and slice it lengthwise into fifths.
Toss the pears with the melted butter, then toss with the sugar. Spread the pears in a single layer on the preheated baking sheet, making sure each slice lies flat on a surface. Roast until browned on the bottom, about 10 minutes. Flip each slice and roast until tender and deep golden brown, about 5 minutes longer. Let the pears cool while preparing the salad.
For the salad:
Whisk together the oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper to taste in a small bowl. Combine the arugula and vinaigrette, and toss gently to combine. Divide among plates, and top with the pears, cheese and chopped walnuts. Serve immediately.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings