Pan Roasted Pear Salad

pear salad

The first time I made this pear salad was for a Thanksgiving dinner at my daughter’s home. We had to travel for several hours to get to where she lived, so my contribution to the dinner had to be something I could carry with us without cooking ahead of time. I was still trying to figure out what to make when I heard a report on a National Public Radio show that featured this salad.

After some experimenting with the original recipe, it’s now one of my go to dishes for potluck dinners and other occasions where I want to contribute something to a meal that I can make ahead of time. I can mix the greens in a large bowl, prepare the rest of the ingredients and simply assemble the salad when I arrive.

I often use an infused balsamic vinegar for the pears, usually a dark chocolate balsamic from Basiks. As for the pears, D’Anjou or Bartlett seem to work best, but I’m guessing Asian pears would be good, as well. I may try them next time around.

This recipe serves four, but  if you allow about 3/4 of a pear per person, it’s easily adapted for larger or smaller numbers of people.

Salad with Pan Roasted Pears

Salad with Pan Roasted Pears


3 ripe but firm pears (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled, quartered and cored

2 1/2 tsp. sugar

sea salt and pepper to taste

3 Tbsp. olive oil

4 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

3/4 cup pecans, chopped

1 Tbsp. butter

1 small shallot, minced (about 1 tablespoon)

green leaf lettuce torn into 1-inch pieces (about 4 cups)

2 bunches watercress

4 ounces Parmesan cheese, shaved


    Toss pears, 2 teaspoons sugar, a pinch of sea salt, and a couple of grinds of fresh pepper in medium bowl.

    Heat 2 teaspoons oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking.

    Add pears cut-side down in single layer and cook until golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes.

    Using small spatula or fork, tip each pear onto second cut side; continue to cook until second side is light brown, 2 to 4 minutes longer.

    Turn off heat, leave skillet on burner, and add 2 tablespoons vinegar; gently stir until vinegar coats pears, about 30 seconds.

    Transfer pears to large plate and cool to room temperature, about 45 minutes.

    Cut each pear quarter crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces.

    Heat the butter in a small saute pan until it stops frothing

    Toast the chopped pecans in the hot butter until they start to brown and become very fragrant. Set aside to cool.

    Whisk remaining 2 tablespoons oil, remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar, remaining 1/2 teaspoon sugar, and shallot together in large bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper.

    arrange lettuce, watercress, and cooled pears on four salad plates;

    Add shaved cheese and nuts, then drizzle with the shallot dressing.

    Serve immediately.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
%d bloggers like this: