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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Autumnal salad




My salad days are numbered, in more ways than one.


We are about to sink into months of soup weather, but today – all blue skies and crisp, golden light – has been a reprieve of sorts. As I went on my early morning walk, the rosy leaves put me in mind of red pears – and that reminded me, in turn, of one of my favorite quick salads for this time of year.




Because I work from home, lunch tends to be a solitary and no-nonsense affair. I want to be able to throw something together quickly, but I still want to eat something delicious. (I don’t like to skimp on meals, and by that I mean quantity and quality.) If I’m lucky, I have better-the-next-day leftovers that can be heated up in a minute or two. But if all of the Tupperware is bare, I’d rather spend five minutes composing a salad than being bored by a sandwich.




All you need, really, is four good ingredients:

A ripe pear.
Some creamy blue cheese. (I like dolcelatte, which I happen to have leftover from a dinner party.)
A handful of toasted walnuts.
And mixed salad leaves.


Five minutes is really all it takes (says the person who timed herself just to make sure).






First, toast your walnuts in a small skillet over low heat. Keep one eye on them, as you use your other eye to slice up your pear. Spread a bed of lettuce on your plate, and distribute little gobbets of blue cheese evenly – using a spoon or a knife, depending on your preference. As your walnuts cool, arrange the pear. Then drizzle a good extra-virgin olive oil over the whole. I like to also drizzle a balsamic glaze over my salad – this is just reduced balsamic vinegar, and you can buy it at good grocery stores – but a dash of balsamic vinegar will suffice. Finally, arrange the walnuts on the top, give it a sprinkling of sea salt and freshly ground pepper, and serve (with the best bits of the Sunday newspaper, if you are anything like me).




10 comments:

julochka said...

your new camera is wonderful. :-)

and now i want salad for breakfast.

gorgeous!!!

B said...

This is my kind of cooking! I love those photos, do you have a new camera?

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Lovely and delicious. A wonderful combination. You have inspired me to do something for lunch besides yogurt.

Christina said...

simple and easy, I love that. Blue cheese, yummy!

jane said...

i´ve just found you! beautiful blog girls! you rock. and i love the name! besos!

Tracy Golightly-Garcia said...

Sounds good and easy to make. I will try this for a light lunch--I love blue cheese!
The pictures are beautiful--what camera do you use?

Bee said...

J - Sometimes, if the light is great outside, you can't miss.

B - It IS good if you can make something nice in 5 minutes. Someone once said that the first thing about being a good cook is knowing how to shop!

Pamela - Oh, good!

Christina - I made this again with a blue brie. Take a toasted walnut and smear it with some blue cheese . . . yum, yum.

Jane - Thanks so much for joining us. xx

Tracy - I have a new Lumix to replace the Lumix that I ruined at the beach.

Anne said...

Lovely pictures, Bee! I wish so much that I liked blue cheese. I always feel like such a faux foodie (fauxdie?) when I turn down blue cheese--or goat cheese, for that matter. I love pears and walnuts, and want to like the classic pear-walnut-blue salad, but no matter how many times I try, it just doesn't click. Ah well. I'm still searching for a suitable substitute cheese. So far it's just big flakes of parmigiano.

As for sandwiches, I feel like they get a bit of a bad rap. Like salads, I find that they can be bland and boring; but with the right ingredients and a bit of care, they can be just as exciting as a good salad. This post from Bea at La Tartine Gourmande has always struck me as Exhibit A for easy-but-enticing sandwich-like foods. (Of course, with her photo and styling skills, I think she could make anything look appetizing!)

Nimble said...

A blue brie?! I have never had one. Oh I wish I were in cheese country...

Bee said...

Anne - I agree; it just doesn't make sense that you don't like blue cheese. Maybe one day, suddenly, your taste buds will adjust to its marvellous flavor.

And you are right about sandwiches, but I have several caveats. For one, you need to have really good bread, unless you are doing a grilled cheese. I will check out La Tartine Gourmande; thanks for the tip!

Nimble - Cheese is definitely one of England's good things.

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