Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A GREAT PEARING - (Warm Pear & Green Bean Salad)

(Warm Pear & Green Bean Salad)

We’re about to start painting more rooms in our house.  Well, we’re not actually doing the painting – our painters are.  But before the crew arrived and flooded the house w/ the aroma of high gloss enamel peppered w/ a hint of latex flat, we planned one more dinner party.  A birthday dinner for a friend.   For the entrée, Richard decided to make halibut in garam masala which I lovingly blogged about before:

But, alas - no fresh halibut.  No biggie – there was beautiful fresh red snapper to be had, so, in a snap, the dish became red snapper garam masala and was just as delicious.

However, before our tongues touched this tasty dish, Richard served a salad.

What can you say about a salad?  A salad’s only a salad after all, right?  Something to have after appetizers but before dinner (unless you’re in Europe, then it’s often after dinner, but I digress…) and, something I don’t usually pay much attention to.  Full disclosure: salads are not my ‘foodie’ thing.  Well, maybe a warm chicken or shrimp Caesar – hail Caesar!  But, they’re ‘lunch’ salads – a least in my opinion… not ‘first course’ dinner salads…  In fact, I never really made a salad (tuna salad notwithstanding) until I was forty and Richard took a picture for posterity. 

(w/ cousin Linda)

I know.  I know. I’m digressing again – something I often do… 

For years, food discerning friends have been trying to convert me into a salad lover by adding roasted veggies or cheeses or nuts or all the aforementioned.  And I do find these salads more than palatable.  But I still resisted.  They’ve told me over and over again that there are salads and then there are salads.  But, again, I still resisted.

Well – the salad Richard made for our little dinner party the other night is definitely a salad.  Don’t get me wrong… I’m not a convert.  But I’m wavering.

Warm Pear & Green Bean Salad
Courtesy of Country Living Magazine
December, 2000

Vegetable oil cooking spray
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 pounds green beans, trimmed
4 pears, cored and cut into eighths
1 teaspoon sugar
½ cup chopped toasted hazelnuts
  (Richard used toasted sliced almonds)

2 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon minced garlic
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Roast green beans and pears.  Lightly coat 2 roasting pans w/ cooking spray and set aside.  Richard used cookie sheets covered in tin foil in place of the roasting pans.

In a large bowl, whisk 2 tablespoons oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.  Toss green beans well w/ this mixture and place in/on a roasting pan/cookie sheet.

In the same large bowl, whisk the remaining oil, salt and pepper and toss the pears.  Sprinkle pears w/ sugar and place in/on a roasting pan/cookie sheet.  

Place both pans/sheets in oven.  After 30 minutes remove green beans.  Roast pears 15 more minutes and remove from the oven.

Note from Richard:  Watch the pears carefully.  In our oven the pears were more than done at the same time as the green beans.

Dressing:  In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, mustard, and garlic.  Add olive oil in a thin stream, whisking constantly.  Stir in salt and pepper.   
Toss the green beans and pears w/ dressing in a big bowl...
  then serve.

 Your taste buds will thank you.

Makes 8 servings.  
Since there were just four of us, Richard simply halved all the ingredients.

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