Every holiday menu needs a lively salad to freshen up an otherwise heavy assortment of dishes in various shades of brown and beige. Let this pear, blue cheese and pomegranate salad be your new go-to for festive occasions. It is exceedingly simple and allows a few beautiful ingredients to shine. Sweet, luscious pear contrasts with piquant blue cheese and zippy pomegranate to form a delicious trio.
To really elevate this salad to holiday menu worthiness, I top it with a generous handful of my sweet and salty nuts. It admittedly adds an extra (and optional) step to this recipe, and you could certainly use simply toasted pecans and/or walnuts. But, trust me — the extra step is worth it. You can prep the nuts in advance, reserve half a cup for this salad, and horde the rest of those addictive little morsels for yourself. Or, I guess, share with your friends and family if you are in a giving mood. They are shocking in their crave-inducing deliciousness.
Anyway, I hope you are relaxed as can be during this crazy week before Christmas. Stay sane and stay cozy (it is a balmy 20 degrees here as I write…oh what fun!).
- 4 oz bibb lettuce (approx. 1 head)
- 1 ripe, but still firm pear, cored and thinly sliced
- 3 oz. blue cheese, such as stilton or roquefort , crumbled
- 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
- 1/2 cup sweet + salty nuts, roughly chopped (see note)
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 tbsp finely minced or grated shallot (about 1/2 small shallot, peeled)
- Make the vinaigrette: Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, maple syrup, mustard, salt and pepper until emulsified and creamy. Stir in minced shallot. Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly. Tip: for a really creamy dressing, I like to use an immersion blender.
- Assemble the salad: Toss butter lettuce with just enough vinaigrette to very lightly coat the greens. Transfer to a large, shallow serving bowl and top with pear slices (I like to arrange little clusters of pear slices atop the greens), crumbled blue cheese, pomegranate seeds and nuts. Lightly drizzle with a little more vinaigrette (you will have extra), sprinkle with flaky salt and freshly ground pepper. Enjoy!