While it’s not quite summer and farm stands are not yet brimming with local vegetables, there are still great salad options for light lunches and starters for dinner. You’ll love this recipe for grilled pears, delicious when made in a griddle pan, one of those essential pieces of kitchen equipment that you usually thinks of for grilling meats and vegetables. Use it here for warming and coloring ripe pears to mix with peppery arugula, salty prosciutto, and tangy blue cheese. Top it with sweet Candied Pecans (recipe follows). The recipe is from my newest cookbook Flavors of Ireland (Ambassador International).
Grilled Pears, Arugula, and Blue Cheese Salad
4 firm, ripe pears
4 tablespoons olive oil
fFeshly ground pepper to taste
One 4-ounce bag of arugula
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
8 slices prosciutto
4 ounces crumbled blue cheese
1. Cut the pears in half, core, and cut each half into 3 slices. Brush the slices with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and sprinkle with the pepper.
2. Heat a grill pan until very hot, add the pears, and cook for 2–3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned with grill marks. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, toss the arugula with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the vinegar.
4. To serve, arrange the arugula on 4 salad plates and top with the grilled pears, 2 slices of prosciutto, and the blue cheese. Sprinkle with additional ground pepper and pecans.
3 tablespoons Karo
1 1/2 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups pecan halves
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients. Stir well to coat the nuts and then transfer to the prepared pan. Bake for 5 minutes and then stir with a fork to distribute the coating. Bake for 8–10 minutes more or until pecans are lightly browned and the coating is bubbling. Transfer to another baking sheet and quickly separate the nuts before letting cool completely. Store in an airtight tin for up to 2 weeks.
Editor's Note: Margaret M. Johnson, of Westhampton Beach, is the author of six cookbooks and her latest cookbook called, Flavors of Ireland was released on Amazon on Feb. 23. For more information, click here.