I like to make this salad in the late fall/early winter when pears tend to go on sale. The cool and sweet pears mix well with the creamy avocado and bleu cheese, crunchy pecans, the peppery and slightly bitter spring greens and the zesty Dijon vinaigrette.
If you cannot find ripe pears, do not despair – pears are one of the few fruits that do not ripen well on the tree. Place firm, unripe pears in a bowl or paper bag and leave them at room temperature for a couple of days. To check for ripeness, gently press the neck of the pear – when it gives in to gentle pressure it’s ready to eat. Once a pear is ripe, it can be refrigerated for four to five days.
If I serve this salad as a meal, I like to add roasted chicken. As a side salad (or when I’m not eating meat), I omit the chicken. This salad rocks either way!
Salad ingredients (4-6 salads)
- 6 cups lettuce (I used a mix of spring greens and red leaf)
- 3 pears, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces (I used red and green d’Anjou)
- 4 oz. bleu cheese, crumbled (I used Maytag this time)
- 1 ripe avocado, peeled and diced
- ½ cup green onions, sliced (I use both green and white parts)
- ¾ cup pecans, crumbled
- 1-2 cups roasted chicken (optional), shredded
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Fresh ground black pepper to taste
- Kosher salt to taste
Make the dressing by whisking the olive oil, vinegar, sugar, Dijon mustard, garlic, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
Tear the lettuces into bite-sized pieces and toss.
Add the pears, bleu cheese, avocado and green onion. Top with the roasted chicken if desired.
Plate each salad. I like to serve the dressing on the side, according to individual taste. Since the salad has so many great ingredients, I normally go light on the dressing.
When I do include the chicken and make this salad a meal, I like it with a few slices of buttered French or Italian bread and a glass of nice white wine.
Note: This salad does not store well as the avocados and pears tend to get mushy, so do not make more than you are going to serve in one sitting.
Eat, drink and be merry!