Here it is, the day I have looked forward to since this same day last year, the first day of fall. Today, I introduce you to a recipe that celebrates my favorite season – Harvest Pear Salad with Dijon Maple Vinaigrette.
Juicy roasted pears, tender salad greens, crispy bacon, crunchy cornbread croutons, a sprinkling of honey roasted sesame seeds, and all drizzled with Dijon Maple Vinaigrette. Harvest Pear Salad is a delectable showcase for many of this season’s best foods.
I love this salad not only for its deliciousness, but also for its versatility. It is perfect served as a side salad to Grilled Chicken Breasts, Perfect Roast Chicken, and Chicken Noodle Soup (to name a few), and hearty enough to stand on its own when served as a light meal.
I promise you, once you taste Harvest Pear Salad with Dijon Maple Vinaigrette, it will become one of your favorite salads.
I’m not a worrier, but I am a little worried now. Harvest Pear Salad with Dijon Maple Vinaigrette is so delicious and gorgeous, I can’t imagine what recipe I can use next year that will be nearly as good. It’s a darn good thing I have an entire year to plan the First Day of Fall, 2016.
- For Harvest Pear Salad:
- 6 slices bacon (black peppered bacon works great)
- 3 ripe pears, halved lengthwise (I used red Starkrimson pears, but Bosc or Red Anjou are great choices, too.)
- 2 cups corn bread, cut into 1” cubes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 cups salad greens – such as: Romaine, Bibb, Loose-leaf, Iceberg lettuce, Escarole, Spinach, Arugula. Any combination works well.
- Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 1-2 tablespoons Honey Roasted Sunflower Seeds (Nuts)
- For Dijon Maple Vinaigrette:
- Yields ¼ cup
- 4 teaspoons cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 4 teaspoons pure maple syrup
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon dried onion flakes, optional
- 2 teaspoons canola oil
- For Harvest Pear Salad:
- Preheat oven to 425F.
- Cut bacon into lardons (cut ¼” thick) and cook in a large skillet until chewy-crisp. Transfer cooked bacon to a paper-towel lined plate. Pour bacon drippings into a small heatproof bowl.
- Cut pears in half, lengthwise.
- Pour 2 tablespoons bacon drippings back into the skillet then place the pears, cut-side down, in the skillet.
- Place skillet with pears in the preheated oven and roast until tender, 12-15 minutes.
- While pears cook, place cubed cornbread on a large baking pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil or a mixture of olive oil and leftover bacon drippings (if available.) Place pan in the oven next to the pears and toast cornbread cubes until golden brown, 6-8 minutes.
- Combine salad greens in a large bowl and season lightly with salt & pepper. Mix well.
- Serve salad greens topped with pear halves, bacon, croutons and sunflower seeds. Serve with Dijon Maple Vinaigrette. *See notes.
- For Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette:
- Combine cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, salt & pepper. Mix until well combined. While whisking, drizzle in the canola oil and continue whisking until smooth and emulsified.