Fall Starters: Pear Salad with Manchego and Cashews

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

Serves 2

  • 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.


Filed under Fall, Gluten-free, Heather Platt, In Season, Salad, Vegetarian

2 responses to “Fall Starters: Pear Salad with Manchego and Cashews

  1. Pingback: Eat, Drink, and Be Thankful: Thanksgiving Menu 2011 | Three More Big Bites

  2. Lovely salad. I love Manchego with pears, and the addition of cashews is great. There is so much to notice and appreciate as our seasons change in L.A. It is not as blunt as snowfall and barren branches, but our seasons are quite distinct. Fall and winter in L.A. mean that certain native trees and succulents are covered with blossoms instead of losing their leaves. I enjoy the many new flowers in gardens at this time of year, the appearance of clouds in the sky, wearing a scarf, watching for butterflies and migrating birds…and eating pears. 🙂


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