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).


julochka said...

your new camera is wonderful. :-)

and now i want salad for breakfast.


Unknown 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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