Salad with Pear, Pomegranate, and Blue Cheese
Just a week ago I bemoaned boring green salads. Where did that come from you might wonder? Well, I was raised in house where a green salad almost always accompanied dinner, a habit that I carried into my own home. The concept is virtuous and it does help meet the recommended daily intake of vegetables, however the practice often becomes routine. No one is to blame other than myself. Typically I find the main dish much more intriguing, spending my time and energy preparing unique and different meals. The perfunctory dinner salad, becomes just that- a last minute attempt to eat more vegetables. It is the worst in the winter, when the farmer’s market is closed and I’m left with grocery store basics. Waxy bell pepper strips, green onions, watery tomatoes, and a few token mushrooms are thrown on top of pre-washed lettuce. A drizzle of olive oil and various vinegars and the salad is ready to serve. Basic, quick, and boring when consumed five out of seven nights a week.
The answer to my salad boredom is obvious- shake up the routine! Stop buying the same salad ingredients week after week and start putting just a tiny bit of thought into ways to jazz up the nightly plate of greens. With the smallest amount of forethought it is easy to branch out from routine and make a pile of lettuce interesting again. This recipe for a pear, pomegranate, and blue cheese salad uses only a few ingredients to create a salad filled with contrasting textures and flavors. The dressing is a snap to make, coming together in under 5 minutes. If you make it in a small jar, you can save any unused dressing in the fridge. A quick shake of the jar the next day, and the dressing is mixed and ready to go again.
I’ll be the first to admit that I find pomegranate seeds fussy. They are a pain to extract from a whole pomegranate and I’ve never really understood their appeal. However when I found a container of pomegranate seeds cleaned and ready to use at the store, I decided to give them a try again. This is one case where convenience wins out. When all I had to do was sprinkle a few seeds on top of a salad, I found that I reached for the pomegranate seeds every night until they were gone. They added a crunch to the salad much like croutons with the benefit of a tart juicy burst of flavor. All together, this salad has a lot going for it- a lemony vinaigrette, peppery arugula, creamy blue cheese, crunchy pomegranate seeds, and sweet slices of pear- anything but boring!
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 medium shallot, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 5-ounce bag arugula or mixed baby greens, rinsed and dried
2 large ripe pears, halved, cored, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 cup pomegranate seeds
In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, mustard, shallot, and thyme. Slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl, whisking constantly to create an emulsion. Whisk in salt and pepper to taste.
Place the greens in a large bowl and toss them with enough dressing to coat the leaves. Divide the greens between 6 plates and evenly top with pear slices. Sprinkle the blue cheese and pomegranate seeds evenly on top of each plate and drizzle lightly with any remaining dressing. Serve immediately.