Roasted Pear Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

roasted pear salad

If you could be any fruit, which would it be?  I most identify with the pear.

The pear and I are not the life of the party like the flashy mango or the juicy strawberry hugging the rim of a margarita glass.  We are the wallflowers. You will not see us dancing on top of the table at three in the morning (anymore).

The pear has muted hues that are eerily similar to the phases of my hair color.  There was the earthy brown phase, which I am pretty sure is close to my natural color; there was the henna-obsessed red phase; followed by a brief yet unfortunate green phase, thanks to a quick dip in an overly chlorinated pool.

The pear and I are firm yet sweet, like when my teenage son asked to extend his curfew on mischief night, and I said, “Absolutely not!” with a smile on my face.  

Yep, the pear and I are alike in many ways, but mostly in our silhouette.

These little organic beauties are from Organnons Natural Market in Wrightstown.

organicpear

If you are looking for a one stop shopping source for local, natural, and organic produce and groceries, this is your place. Organnons is small, yet it has everything that a big box whole foods market should have. It is family owned with the friendliest, most helpful people, who welcome you like an old friend. Whenever I stop by the market I feel much like the character Norm as he is greeted by the patrons at Cheers.

Organnonsmarket

Nothing says fall better than maple syrup. This delicious organic maple syrup is the base for our vinaigrette and it is not from Vermont. This is Pennsylvania produced Rocky Ridge Maple Syrup from Northern Pennsylvania. It not only has a superb flavor, I really dig the packaging. How cute is that bottle?

rockyridgemaple

The maple syrup is the star of our vinaigrette. I use the jelly jar method

jellyjar

To quickly shake it together. Four ingredients. Twenty seconds.

saladdressinging

And an arm workout to boot. Just make sure the lid is secure before you shake. Been there. Done that.

jellyjarsaladdressing

The vinaigrette does double duty as both a salad dressing and a basting liquid for the pears.

corepear

When it comes to prepping the pears, you can leave the skin on, which is how I prefer it,

roastedpearskin

Or you can peel the pears before roasting, which is the only way my crew will eat them.

roastedpeartopi

Since pears do not have an assertive flavor, they work with a variety of salad greens. I chose this gorgeous romaine mix from Blue Moon Acres in Buckingham. Local, organic, delicious. Do you sense a theme here? Blue Moon has a variety of microgreens, lettuce/salad greens, and surprisingly, even their own rice. They also have a Pennington, New Jersey location.

My lettuce came in my favorite variety: prewashed.

organicromaine

This salad would not be complete without some tangy Gorgonzola and a handful of candied walnuts for crunch. Sometimes I add crispy pancetta. We are big bacon lovers, but it can easily be left out, my vegetarian friends.

pancetta

When so many autumn recipes feature apples and pumpkin, it is nice to give a little culinary love to the pear.

pearsaladtop

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Roasted Pear Salad with Maple Vinaigrette
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad, Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar or champagne vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 medium pears, firm but ripe (any variety)
  • 2 ounces pancetta or bacon, cooked/ chopped (optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon finely minced shallot
  • 5 cups mixed salad greens (I used a Romaine mix)
  • 4 ounces crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • ½ cup candied walnuts
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Place olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup, salt and pepper in a clean jelly/jam jar. Secure lid and shake to combine.
  3. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or Silpat.
  4. Peel the pears. Cut the pears in half and using a spoon or melon baller, remove the core. Brush 1 tablespoon of the vinaigrette over the pears, and bake, cut-side down for 30-40 minutes or until tender and nicely browned.
  5. During the last 10 minutes of baking, add the pancetta (if using) to the cookie sheet with the pears. Bake until the pancetta is nicely browned around the edges.
  6. Remove the pears and pancetta from the oven to cool slightly, then chop the pancetta.
  7. Add the minced shallot to the remaining vinaigrette and shake to combine. Place the salad greens in a large bowl. Pour the vinaigrette over the greens and toss.
  8. Divide the dressed greens among four plates and sprinkle with gorgonzola, walnuts, and pancetta.
  9. Top each plate with a warm pear half and serve.

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