In New England, it seems like we complain about the cold from November until June. We take a month off, and then complain about the heat from July until September. I acknowledge the inconvenience of winter–the driving, the ice dams, the shoveling, etc. For me, the pressure to hurry up and enjoy the limited days of summer is replaced by the expectation to slow down and be cozy inside. The kitchen becomes the warmest room in the house, and draws everyone in. I completely love this, and everything about this long season of short days.
During the short Summer months, I get creative with salad variations, and we grill a lot. Or we get takeout. I take into account our lack of central air when I lay out our weekly menu. Although winter is for soups, and stews, and meals that put meat on our bones, I found a recipe for salad in Granny’s recipe box that feels Winter-worthy. The flavors fit the feeling of the cold months, but it is delicious and refreshing enough for Summer too.
This recipe is flexible, easy, and appropriate for sweater-and-stretchy-pants-season menus. The original card has four variations. I made two of them (both delicious) and the pear vinaigrette. I did add some sugar to the dressing, which I think you can avoid, especially if you use canned pears. I usually skip recipes that require the physical demands of untangling my food processor from the kitchen appliance cabinet. But this dressing is refreshing and complimentary to the wintery fruit flavors, so I suggest going the extra food processing mile. If you are looking for a shortcut, you could easily swap it for any store-bought vinaigrette.
I mixed the ingredients the next day from both salads into one, and I added avocado. This combination of the two combos was my favorite, and I’ll include it in the recipe card below. So throw on your sweater and stretchy pants, or your bikini and tank top, and make this salad all year long. You can’t go wrong. In fact, I’m wondering if we should change the name to The Year Long Salad.
Winter Salad with Pear Dressing
Makes 6 servings
- Salad greens
- About 10 c of your choice of greens. Use several kinds- romaine, iceberg, green and red leaf lettuce
- For peppery flavor-arugula or watercress
- For pleasant, slightly bitter flavor- a small amount of chicory, Belgian endive, or radicchio
- For soft buttery taste- Boston or bibb
- Choose one fruit, nut, and cheese trio:
- 4 naval oranges peeled and chopped, 4 oz. mozzarella cheese diced, 1/3 c pecans toasted and chopped
- 2 large juicy pears cored and thinly sliced, 4 oz. feta cheese diced, 1/3 c walnuts toasted and chopped
- 3.5 c fresh pineapple chunks, 4 oz. pepper Jack cheese chopped, 1/3 c almonds toasted and chopped
- 2 large apples cored and chopped, 4 oz cheddar cheese, 1/3 c hazlenuts toasted and chopped
- I made the orange and pear trios. The leftovers got combined into one salad and the result was excellent. I think all of the above would work well together.
- 2 large scallions
- 1 large ripe pear, peeled, quartered, and cored (or 16 oz can pears drained and chopped)
- 1/2 t sugar (omit if using canned pears)
- 1/2 c olive oil
- 3 T cider vinegar
- 1/5 t whole grain or Dijon mustard
- 1/2 t salt
- 1/4 t pepper
- Choose a fruit, nut, and cheese trio for your salad.
- Toast the nuts.
- Bake in baking pan for 10-12 min at 350, stirring or shaking once or twice until they smell toasted and turn light brown.
- Wash, dry, and chop salad greens.
- Dice or thinly slice cheese.
- Make dressing (instructions below).
- Shortly before serving, arrange salad greens on platter or bowl.
- Prepare fruit and arrange on top with cheese.
- Sprinkle nuts on top right before serving so they do not get soggy.
- Add dressing or serve on the side. Toss salad.
Makes 1 3/4 cups
- Trim 2 large scallions and cut into chunks.
- Chop finely in food processor.
- Leave in processor and add pear.
- Add olive oil, vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper.
- Process until smooth.