A GREAT PEARING
(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
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...
Your taste buds will thank you.
Makes 8 servings.
Since there were just four of us, Richard simply halved all the ingredients.