I just recently started liking pears, so I really have no idea how people normally eat them or what they might be eaten with. For this salad, I warmed them with brown sugar simple syrup in the oven. I had half a box of pine nuts left over and they definitely add a wonderful substance to this salad, which would otherwise be very very light. A potential substitution for the pine nuts could be chick peas, and that would make this salad much more appropriate for an entree.
Originally, I was inclined to use a raspberry vinaigrette, but the simple syrup turned out to be just enough! The brown sugar simple syrup dressing was not planned, but it ended up being the perfect consistency and flavor. It is so delicate and it coats everything without seeming oily or overly sweet!
On a final note, my trick whenever I am making small amounts of salad is to go to Whole Foods and use their salad bar. I pick whatever I need from the bar and just arrange it separately in the little box. It usually ends up being cheaper and you get new ideas for interesting salads!
Warm Pear and Arugula Salad
serves 4 appetizer portions
2 cups baby arugula
5 heads raw broccoli
1/2 cup raw pine nuts
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/8 cup water
1/8 cup brown sugar (Veggie and vegan readers, remember to use vegetarian friendly sugar!)
1 pear, plump and juicy!
vinaigrette of choice (optional, as I said, I ended up not using this)
First, wash the arugula and broccoli. Toss them together in a bowl.
Next, toast the pine nuts. In a small skillet over low heat, cook the pine nuts in the olive oil. Make sure you pay close attention because these things cook in a matter of minutes and they are really very easy to burn!
To make the simple syrup “dressing,” boil the water and sugar together in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Preheat the oven to 350°F, and line a baking dish with tin foil. (If you do not have a bowl-like baking dish or small casserole dish, you can just make a little pocket out of the tin foil.)
Slice the pear and arrange the slices in your tin foil basket. Pour the simple syrup over them and coat them with it!
Heat them in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until they are warmed. You could probably heat them for longer or even marinate and grill them if you like, and I am sure it would be just as delicious on this salad!
Finally, toss the pine nuts and the pears + simple syrup together with the greens!