Ryan would prefer to eat Caesar Salad before every meal. I prefer variety. In my quest for variety I find myself dividing salads into two categories, winter salads and summer salads. This is definitely a winter salad and a great one at that. enjoy!
for the salad. . .
a nice combination of lettuces,
radicchio, spinach or other wild greens
thin slices of pear
thin slices of sweet red onion
crumbled gorgonzola cheese
a handful of toasted hazelnuts
for the vinaigrette. . .
1 ripe pear
1/2 c. white wine (can substitute with apple juice or water)
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tsp. dijon mustard
1/4 cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar
2 tsp. fresh thyme
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 c. olive oil
To make the vinaigrette, peel the pear, cut it into quarters and remove the core. Place the pear pieces in a small pot iwth the wine. Cook over medium heat, turning the pear pieces to ensure even cooking, until the wine has mostly evaporated and the pear is quite soft. Transfer to food processor.
Add the garlic, mustard, rice wine vinegar, thyme, salt and pepper and blend thoroughly. While blending, drizzle in the olive oil slowly until you achieve a thinkc, emulsified dressing.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the greens with several tablespoons of the vinaigrette. Arrange the greens on a large serving platter. Lay the slices of pear and red onion on the greens in an attractive manner. Top the salad with cheese and nuts and serve.
*This is also really good with a Raspberry Vinaigrette or Brianna's Poppyseed dressing. If you're feeling really adventurous combine the two and it's just as good as the pear vinaigrette with half the effort.