A 10-minute pear vinaigrette that will give all your fall and winter salads the perfect finishing flavor. And it only needs 3 ingredients in addition to salt, pepper and olive oil.
Use this dressing on your favorite pear salad recipe for an even bigger pear flavor. Use either a Bartlett or Bosc pear.
- 👗 The Importance of the Right Dressing
- 🤷♀️ What is a Vinaigrette?
- ❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
- 🧅 Ingredients + Notes
- 🔪 Recommended Equipment
- 👩🍳 Preparation Tips
- 💡Ideas for Possible Variations
- 🍽 Ways to Use This Pear Vinaigrette
- Pear Vinaigrette Recipe
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👗 The Importance of the Right Dressing
I say you can have all the makings for a James Beard award-winning salad, but if you dress it with some mediocre dressing you threw together at the last minute, the salad will quickly become forgettable at best, and jarring at worst.
For example, I recently had a lentil salad at a restaurant that could have been amazing. But it missed the mark due to a tart lemon dressing that overwhelmed the flavors of the salad. It needed the rounded depth of sherry vinegar instead of lemon.
This faulty pairing of a vinaigrette made the salad unforgettable, but for all the wrong reasons.
And really, that's just a crazy mistake.
A good vinaigrette takes mere minutes to make, can almost always be made ahead, and keeps well in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks. Seriously, there's no excuse for not having a couple good ones on hand at any time.
So, it's important to look at the salad you're dressing to make sure the dressing will elevate the salad, so it doesn't end up in someone's blog as an example of a bad dressing pairing. For example, I wouldn't use this Thai Peanut Butter Dressing on a salad featuring baby greens. It's too heavy and would drown those fragile greens. But it's perfect on a hardy kale salad, especially when you add apples to the salad.
Conversely, this Lemon Vinaigrette from my cookbook marries well with lots of salads, including tender greens, but might get lost in one with a lot of mustard greens.
But when we make salads featuring fall and winter produce, like butternut squash, beets and yes, pears, this pear vinaigrette is the one to have on hand.
So take 10 minutes to whip this one up and throw it into the refrigerator. It's perfect for hearty salads with bitter greens like kale, endive, chicory, spinach, mustard greens, frisee, radicchio, or escarole. But it's also gentle enough for Bibb or butter lettuce.
🤷♀️ What is a Vinaigrette?
At its simplest, a vinaigrette is any dressing or marinade that uses a salad oil and vinegar as its two major components. It may have garlic, spices, herbs and citrus, and often does, but it's really about an emulsion of oil and vinegar.
The oil used is typically a neutral oil such as safflower, avocado, and olive oil, but can also use a nut oil, like a hazelnut oil.
❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
- It transports salads into star territory, especially if the salads incorporate fall and winter vegetables.
- There's enough heft to the vinaigrette to hold up to hardy greens, such as kale, but gentle enough for a more tender lettuce.
- It's ready in 10 minutes.
- It keeps in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks at least. I've even kept it for 3 weeks with success.
- Use it as a marinade or dressing. I marinate my husband's pork chops in it, and it works well as a marinade for tuna steaks (if you eat fish).
🧅 Ingredients + Notes
- Pear - both Bartlett and Bosc pears work great, but make sure the pear is ripe since it's puréed in the recipe.
- Pear vinegar - if you can't find pear vinegar, use champagne vinegar, rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar as a last resort.
- Dijon mustard
- Kosher salt - or table salt.
- Ground black pepper
- Olive oil - or other neutral salad oil.
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👩🍳 Preparation Tips
The pear you use should be ripe. Press in on the pear around the stem. If it depressed fairly easily, it's ripe.
When removing peeling the pear, also remove bruised areas, as you don't want that to affect the flavor or appearance of the finished pear vinaigrette.
💡Ideas for Possible Variations
Add minced garlic and / or fresh thyme leaves.
🍽 Ways to Use This Pear Vinaigrette
Salads with that feature sliced pears, apples, pomegranate seeds, persimmon slices, candied walnuts and avocado work great with this vinaigrette. Ditto for any kind of winter hard squash, like butternut. You might just skip the rest of the meal.
Or roast up some beets, and dress it with this vinaigrette. For example, this Smashed Beet recipe with Goat Cheese Dressing could be easily switched up. Just add goat cheese to the vinaigrette in the mini-chopper, and dress the beets with it.
Add some blue cheese to the mini-chopper with the vinaigrette and use it for a cobb salad.
If you eat fish, this is a great marinade for tuna steaks.
Pear Vinaigrette Recipe
- Throw everything EXCEPT the olive oil into a mini-chopper, or the bowl of the food processor fitted with a metal blade. Whirl around enough to break up the pear.
- Add the olive oil and whirl to completely emulsify, about 1 minute or less.