A few weeks ago, I was walking through the kitchen at work and noticed the pastry chef arranging beautiful, plump pears on to a sheet tray. The adorable little fruits were lined up perfectly, side by side with stems up just waiting to be plucked up for another delicious creation. I smiled, thinking to myself “welcome back little guys.” Not that I usually talk to fruit, but I hadn’t seen them in a year and I felt a great fondness for this first sign that fall is really here. A few days after I saw those pears on the sheet tray, the weather here in LA shifted from what had been a scorching hot who-wants-to-cook-anything-in-this-heat summer to a cool, soothing, brisk fall. As someone who grew up in northern Vermont, I am qualified to say that we don’t really get seasons here. We only get hints of seasons, a subtle sense of what fall might really feel like. Once in awhile, the way an unemployed person might forget which day of the week it is, I forget what season we’re in. I guess that’s what pears are for…they’re pretty great in salads with manchego and toasted cashews too.
Pear Salad with Manchego and Cashews
- 1/4 cup raw cashews
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 3 cups mache salad greens
- 1/4 lb piece Manchego cheese
- 1 medium Bartlett pear
- kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place cashews on a baking sheet and bake in the oven until lightly browned all over, about 5 to 10 minutes.
Whisk together vinegar, honey, mustard, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Add olive oil in a slow steady stream and whisk to emulsify.
Divide greens among salad plates. Slice pear lengthwise. Arrange the pear slices on each plate. Using a vegetable peeler, slice the cheese into thin pieces and place atop the greens and pear. Drizzle dressing over salads. Sprinkle with cashews.