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One good recipe: Fig, pear and walnut salad


Apples tend to get most of the love this time of year, but fall also is prime time for a variety of pears. My favorites are Bosc and Anjou pears, both of which are firm and sweet, and when sliced on top of a simple green salad elevate it to greatness.

Blue cheese pairs especially well with fresh pears, so that’s what I always crumble on top. Usually with abandon. Figs are another given, both to celebrate the season and to add a sweet counterbalance to the peppery, spicy bite of arugula. 

My fledgling fig tree didn’t bear fruit this year, so I used dried mission figs. If you’re not a walnut fan, substitute pecans or almonds. 

If you like, you can add a handful of homemade croutons for extra crunch. But it’s just as nice served with crusty bread, and less work. 

——— 

FIG, PEAR AND WALNUT SALAD 

PG tested 

For dressing 

1 garlic clove, chopped with a pinch of salt into a paste 

1 shallot, finely diced 

2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar 

Juice 1/2 lemon 

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 

Salt and freshly ground black pepper 

For salad 

6 dried figs, sliced into bite-sized pieces, or 4 fresh figs, quartered 

4 firm pears, halved, cored and thinly sliced 

1 cup toasted walnuts 

8 ounces blue cheese 

3 cups spinach 

3 cups arugula 

Mix the dressing ingredients in jar with a lid, and shake well to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

Place salad ingredients in a large bowl, and toss together with hands. Season with a little salt. 

Add dressing, and toss lightly to combine. 

Makes 4 generous servings. 

— Gretchen McKay


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