A beautiful Fall pear salad, with radicchio, arugula, pecans, pancetta, pecorino and a homemade, creamy poppy seed dressing.
This lovely Fall pear salad has just a few ingredients, but so much flavour! It has the sharp and salty Pecorino Romano, to start. When paired with the sweet pears and the creamy poppy seed salad dressing, the peppery arugula and slightly bitter radicchio, the nutty pecans and the crunchy pancetta, it makes for such a satisfying bite. In fact, the flavours in this salad are greater than the sum of their parts. Each forkful is different.
I enjoyed this salad for a quick and easy lunch, but I couldn't help but think how perfect it would be beside a thick and juicy grilled steak. I don't know why, because I'm not a frequent grilled-piece-of-red-meat eater. It was just something about the flavours that I just know it would make for the most awesome plate. I'm going to try it soon. I'll report back :)
Radicchio: Radicchio isn't to everyone's taste. It's a bitter green, for sure. If you aren't a fan, use any green you like. If you can find a red-shade green, all the better, to bring some extra colour to your salad.
Pancetta: I love pancetta and often will have some in my fridge. I love it's chunkier form and quick cooking. I often buy the pre-diced pancetta, for super easy additions to so many dishes. If you don't have or want to use pancetta, simply substitute bacon.
Pecorino Cheese Nutty pecorino cheese is a wonderful combination with the sweet pears and salty pancetta. Shave it off in slices with a vegetable peeler, so you can enjoy nice-sized pieces with the other ingredients.
If you don't have pecorino, goat cheese would be excellent in this salad, so do feel free to use it in place of the Pecorino, if you like.
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Fall Pear and Pecorino Salad
Creamy Poppy Seed Dressing:
- 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 Tbsp white vinegar
- 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil, or canola, sunflower etc.
- 1 tsp. poppy seeds
- 2 cups baby arugula
- 1 cup Radicchio, chopped
- 1/3 cup pecans, chopped and toasted (*see instructions)
- 1/4 cup pancetta, diced cooked (or bacon)
- 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano, shaved (or sub crumbled goat cheese)
- 1/2 pear, ripe but firm. cored and thinly sliced
- Balsamic glaze, or reduced balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
- Prepare salad dressing by combining all ingredients in a jar and shaking vigorously until well blended. Refrigerate until needed. (Note: dressing will taste a little sweet, but once on the salad, it will be perfectly balanced with the other ingredients).
- To toast pecans: Chop pecans and sprinkle on to a microwavable plate. Microwave on high for about 1 minute, or until fragrant. Set aside.
- Cook diced pancetta until the fat is rendered off and it is lightly browned. Remove from pan and allow to cool. If desired, you can chop it into smaller pieces.
- Combine arugula and chopped radicchio on a plate. Arrange pear sliced on top.Sprinkle with toasted pecans, cooked pancetta and shaved Pecorino Romano. Drizzle with poppy seed dressing and then add a small drizzle of balsamic glaze.
Nutritional information provided for general guidance only and should not be relied upon to make personal health decisions.