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Pear and Walnut Salad

Contributed by: Fred Fisher

This is a contemporary salad which has actually been around for quite a while now. I think it has achieved classic status.

The only thing that needs any preparation to speak of is the dressing, but the pears do need to be ripe and juicy - comice are perfect for this - and the parmesan needs to be shaved from a fresh block (if you haven't got any to hand, a good strong cheese like stilton or feta will do very nicely indeed, but completely forget about using that dirty sock-flavoured sawdust sold in pots, laughingly labelled `Freshly Grated Parmesan').

If you want to turn this from a starter into a main course just add some strips of dry-cured ham, smoked duck breast, or sauteed chicken livers.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe juicy comice pears
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tblsp white wine vinegar
  • salt
  • 1 tsp grain mustard
  • 6 tblsp walnut oil
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • handful roquette
  • handful of fresh walnut halves, roughly crushed
  • small block of fresh parmesan

Directions:

Peel and core the pears, then smear with a little lemon juice to prevent them turning brown.

Put the vinegar and a good pinch of salt in a screw-top jar and shake until the salt has desolved. Add the mustard and walnut oil, then shake again to emulsify - the emulsion will hold for ten minutes or so, but give it another jiggle just before you use it to dress the salad.

Assemble the salad: slice the pears lengthwise into thin segments and place them rustically on four serving plates along with the roquette, then scatter over the bruised walnuts. Drizzle with the vinaigrette.

Using a potato peeler, shave the parmesan over the salad, then `dust' with a little ground black pepper.

Serving Size: Makes 4 Servings


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