Fresh Pear & Hazelnut Salad Recipe
It’s turned to Fall in the Northwest and with the change in seasons comes fresh and locally harvested pears.
Pears are Oregon’s official state fruit, and Oregon ranks second in the nation in pear production. Oregon’s main growing regions are in Hood River Valley in north central Oregon and Rogue River Valley in southern Oregon.
Pears are great eaten out of hand, but also are wonderful in a recipe like this mixed green salad. For more recipes, ripening tips, varieties and grower information go to the USA Pears website. They will encourage you to ‘Fall in love with pears!’
Mixed Green Salad with Pears, Blue Cheese, Currants, and Toasted Hazelnuts
½ cup chopped, skinned hazelnuts
1 (4 ounce) bag mixed baby greens (about 8 cups lightly packed)
¼ cup dried currants
¼ pound blue cheese, crumbled
2 firm but ripe red or green Bartlett pears, peeled, halved lengthwise, cored, and each half cut lengthwise into 4 wedges
1 tablespoon white vinegar
2 tablespoons apricot spread (without chunks), melted
2 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
Freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the nuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until barely golden, 7 to 10 minutes. Let cool. Place the salad greens, currants, and hazelnuts in a large serving bowl. Have the blue cheese and pears set aside. To make the dressing: In a small jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the vinegar, apricot spread, olive oil, salt, sugar and pepper, to taste. Cover tightly and shake vigorously to blend the ingredients. Taste and adjust the seasoning. When ready to serve, give the dressing a last-minute shake and pour over the salad. Toss gently and divide among 4 plates. Scatter the cheese over top and arrange 4 pear slices around each salad. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
Sources: Chef Scott Neuman and Agri-Business Council of Oregon