A 10-minute pear vinaigrette for all your fall and winter salads.
I would argue that you can have all the makings for a stellar salad, worthy of a James Beard award or something equally lofty, 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 for all the wrong reasons.
And really, that's just a crazy mistake.
A good vinaigrette takes minutes to make, can almost always be made ahead, and keeps well in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks. There's no excuse for not having a couple good ones on hand at any time.
So take a few minutes to whip this one up and throw it into the refrigerator. It's perfect for a winter salad of bitter greens like kale, endive, chicory, spinach, mustard greens, frisee, radicchio, or escarole. Likewise it's wonderful on Bibb or butter lettuce.
Feel free to add some fruit. Sliced pears, apples, pomegranate seeds, persimmon chunks, and avocado work great with this vinaigrette, and toss it all together just before serving. You might just skip the rest of the meal.
And for the record, I wouldn't use it in a lentil salad. Ever.
Recommended Equipment For Making Pear Vinaigrette
The pear needs to be pureed for this vinaigrette, and there are at least 4 options for doing this. I used them all. If the pear is on the firm side, an immersible blender may not give a consistent texture. There may be some small pear lumps.
Traditional Blender (I like this blender because of all the sizes of blender containers it includes)
My favorite approach, overall, is the Mini-chopper. It's fast, easy to pull out and easy to clean. And it totally does the job. If you decide on this one, and want to order it, use my code for a $10 discount. As a note, you need to order at least $59.95 of product to get the $10 discount. When you check out, enter following into the coupon code box:
The mini-chopper and hand-held immersible blender (both are part of Mealthy's Hand Blend package) are available on Amazon as well, using the links. I use one or the other every single day.
Tips For Making Pear Vinaigrette
I've used both Bartlett and Bosc pears to make this vinaigrette with great success. Do not use an Asian pear - they're too hard for this recipe. The pear should be ripe, but not mushy and bruised. This is not a way to use a pear ready to be tossed.
The pear vinegar I like is B.R. Cohn's Pear Chardonnay Vinegar. But if you don't have pear vinegar, you can substitute apple cider vinegar.
Feel free to adjust for the oil - vinegar balance you prefer by dipping a salad leaf into the dressing to taste it. Don't judge it by tasting the dressing by itself. It's always best to try it with whatever it will be served on.
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- Throw everything EXCEPT the olive oil into a mini-chopper, blender, 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.