This salad would make a tasty starter for any meal. Its great taste belies its simplicity.
You can vary some of the ingredients to suit your personal preference:
- instead of Asian pears, try pears or apples
- substitute blue cheese, chevre or Parmesan cheese for smoked Gouda
- Honey-Dijon dressing can replace Raspberry Vinaigrette
I use Kraft Raspberry Vinaigrette as the dressing, but you can prepare your own from scratch, if you like. The caramelized walnuts will need to be made in advance.
Spring Mix Salad with Asian Pears and Caramelized Walnuts
(Makes 6 servings)
6 cups (1.5 L) spring mix lettuce
2 unpeeled Asian pears*, thinly sliced
Grated smoked Gouda cheese
Caramelized walnuts (see recipe below)
Divide lettuce on 6 salad plates. Arrange Asian pear slices over top. Sprinkle cheese and walnuts over Asian pears. Drizzle Raspberry Vinaigrette lightly over top.
To make Caramelized Walnuts: In a small saucepan, combine 2 teaspoons (10 mL) butter or hard margarine, 2 tablespoons (30 mL) honey, and 1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) ground allspice. Heat over medium heat, stirring until butter is melted. Add 1-1/2 cups (375 mL) walnut pieces. Stir until bubbling and golden. Transfer to a greased baking sheet. Let stand until cool, about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Makes enough for about 12 individual salads.
* Asian pears (also known as Chinese pears, Japanese pears, Ya pears, and apple pears) can be round or pear-shaped in appearance, and yellow to yellow-green in colour. They are firm and ready to eat when purchased. No ripening period necessary! Asian pears have a crisp texture and are juicy, with a sweet-tart, apple-pear flavour. They will keep well in the refrigerator for a couple months.