’ve mentioned it earlier. While I love salads, I have a really hard time preparing many variations of them. I don’t know why. Maybe, because I stick with what works and everything else just means more work. For holiday feasts, I always ensure to do lots of research and usually come up with a lovely creation. But it takes lots of planning and getting used to the idea.
This year, I decided rather spontaneously and added an ingredient or other along the way. Next time, I wouldn’t go with the (dominant) roasted garlic vinaigrette, but use a lighter, sweeter dressing, e.g. made from strawberry or raspberry vinegar. I may even go light on the herbs, and simply add a few chives. I found the garlic kind of overpowered the pear, but went really well with the walnuts, which I had roasted and then caramelized with onions.
I also used this dish to inaugurate my spiral-slicer, an instrument I bought for myself, and which my husband insisted on giving to me and putting into my advent calendar. I couldn’t say no.
Ingredients (for five large plates):
600g assorted salads (I used equal parts of mache, rocket and winter purslane)
30g parmigiano (shaved into very thin slices)
1 tbsp dried barberries (or dried cranberries)
100g walnuts (crushed into small pieces with your hands)
2 tbsp honey (for a vegan option, use sugar)
1 large pear
1 serving of roasted garlic & onion vinaigrette
Wash and clean your salads, pat the leaves dry with a kitchen towel and place them into a large bowl.
Prepare the vinaigrette. Set aside.
Heat a medium pot and place the walnuts in them. Roast the walnuts, while stirring occasionally, inhibiting them from burning. Toward the end, when the walnuts have already taken on some color, add about two tablespoons of honey (for the vegan version add sugar). Wait until the walnuts have absorbed the honey (in the vegan version, using sugar, wait for the sugar to caramelize). Place walnuts into a bowl (or allow to cool off a bit, and then use right away). If storing them overnight, make sure to detangle them after they have cooled (this is particularly important for the vegan version, which uses sugar). This makes things easier later!
Prepare the pear. You can either also cut off both ends and then run it through your spiral slicer or cut it into thin slices using a knife.
Then, assemble the salad. First, run the vinaigrette through the salad leaves and place a large portion of salad on each plate. Decorate with the thin pear slices, the warm roasted walnut pieces, the barberries (yeah, just like they come out of the bag!) and the parmigiano. Serve immediately!