Hazelnut Pear Salad


                                                      Photo: Pam Reiss

By Pam Reiss, Passover – A Kosher Collection

The nuttiness of the toasted hazelnuts is delicious with the sweet pear and red onion, the tangy vinaigrette and tender lettuce leaves. For a meat meal, omit the chèvre cheese.


Pear Vinaigrette
1 pear -- ripe, peeled, cored and chopped
1/4  cup apple cider vinegar
1 small garlic clove -- crushed
1/4 cup  olive oil
1/2  tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. honey -- or more if needed

1/2 cup  hazelnuts -- raw
1 small  red onion -- peeled
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Lemon juice -- from half a lemon
1 pear -- cored and thinly sliced
2  heads  butter lettuce -- washed and dried
1/4 cup  chèvre cheese -- crumbled (optional)


For the dressing, place all of the ingredients in a blender or use an immersion blender to puree until smooth.  Taste and check for seasoning -- if the pear isn't ripe enough, you may want to add a little more honey for a little more sweetness.

Heat an oven to 375F.  Spread the hazelnuts out on a baking sheet and toast for 8-10 minutes, or until nicely toasted.  While still hot, pour the nuts onto a clean tea towel. Gather the edges up so all of the hazelnuts are held within the towel, then rub the towel against the nuts, until most of the skin has been removed.  Discard the skins.  Roughly chop the hazelnuts and set aside.

Slice the red onion into 1/4" slices.  Try to get 6 even slices out of the onion -- one for each serving.  Place the onions on a baking sheet and brush each side lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Place in the oven for 15 minutes, then turn the onions over and roast for another 15 minutes or until the onions are soft and the edges are lightly browned. Let the onions cool and refrigerate if you're not serving right away.

For the pears, put 2 cups of water into a bowl and squeeze the lemon juice into the water.  Slice the pears and add them to the lemon water -- this will keep the pears from turning brown.

To serve the salad, place a bed of lettuce leaves on each plate.  Arrange one slice of red onion, a few slices of pear and some of the chopped hazelnuts on top of the lettuce.  If you're using the cheese, sprinkle some of the chèvre on top of the salad.  Drizzle the dressing over the salads or serve in a dish alongside, allowing your guests to dress the salads themselves.


Yield: Serves 6

Recipes: Salads, Pear, Dairy or Parve, Kosher

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