Sauteed pear and hazelnut salad

No sooner did I snap that photo of that beautiful sugar maple this past weekend, then…BAM!  We pull up to the local home improvement store to see a blow up monstrosity of a Santa in front.  This wasn’t your normal, tacky, kitschy, nylon lawn Santa.  No, this one very likely rose above the lowest roof line on my house.  I like Christmas as much as the next person, but please let’s tidy up one holiday before moving on to the next, shall we?  (Do you think I went a little too far when I posted a photo of it on Facebook with the caption “This is what’s wrong with our country”?)

I’m pretty sure that someone is going to plunk down $250 and that Santa will be making an appearance in some poor sod’s neighborhood.  And before I get comments from all you lawn inflatable lovers out there, please know that I’m not dissing you-just your holiday decorating style.

While that front yard will definitely be too busy, a salad can never have too much going on in my book.  When I saw a pear infused balsamic vinegar in the grocery store, I was both intrigued and excited to make a salad dressing with it.  Wonderful substitutions are allowed in this salad and could include walnuts, goat cheese, roasted beets, or pumpkin seeds.

sauteed pear and hazelnut salad

1 small red onion

olive oil

3 pears

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

3 ounces hazelnuts, halved and lightly toasted

5 1/2 ounces salad leaves  (your personal favorite mixture).  I used butter lettuce, spinach, and field greens

6 ounces bleu cheese, crumbled

for the dressing:

2 1/2 tsp pear infused balsamic vinegar (may substitute with plain balsamic vinegar)

drop of dijon mustard

4 Tbsp safflower oil (hazelnut oil may be substituted)

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp confectioner sugar (or to taste)

Whisk together ingredients for dressing and season to taste.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Halve the red onion and cut into crescent-shaped slices.  Put the slices into a small ovenproof dish, drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt and black pepper.  Roast in the preheated oven until soft with slightly caramelized tips, approximately 20-30 minutes.

Halve and core the pears, then cut lengthways into slices approximately 1/4 inch thick.  Melt the butter in a frying pan and sautee the pear slices on each side until just golden, being careful not to overcook them.

Toss the salad leaves with the hazelnuts, then divide among 6 plates.  Add pear slices and warm onion to each plate and scatter cheese.  Drizzle plates with dressing or serve on the side.

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2 responses to “Sauteed pear and hazelnut salad

  1. I’m takin’ my 30′ tall inflatable Santa back today!!!! Geeeez…….

  2. Pingback: Highlighting National Salad Month | fiercelyfresh

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