Pear season begins when Bartlett pears start arriving at the supermarkets in late summer. They’re soon followed by Bosc and Comice which are in season in the fall through winter. The Anjou is known as a winter pear.
I love a ripe pear. Most pears in the stores aren’t ripe yet, but I put them in a small paper bag for several days to ripen. I save the paper prescription bags for my pears and avocados to ripen. Those little bags are the perfect size. I like to eat a pear alone or added to a salad or a fruit compote for a winter breakfast. Cooked pears can also make elegant desserts.
Today I’m sharing a wonderful salad for late summer, fall, and winter – curried cashew salad with pear and grapes. It is so tasty and has my favorite nuts, cashews. The nuts are toasted on a parchment-lined cookie sheet until golden. Then the nuts are mixed with spices. Curried cashews are really the star of the show.
Start the salad with mixed lettuce and add bacon bits, sliced pear, and grapes and top with the nuts. Mix a white wine vinaigrette that is the perfect blend of sweet, savory and tangy. I use extra virgin olive oil for my vinaigrette. I am not a mustard fan, but adding just a smidge of Dijon to a vinaigrette helps bring all the flavors together. A little honey or maple syrup rounds out the flavor without making the dressing too sweet. A great dressing that can be prepped in under 5 minutes, and you have a salad fit for a king.
It is also a forgiving salad and is still excellent with fruit substitutions. Can’t find good grapes? Try mandarin oranges sections in winter. Yum! I’m using Al Fresco’s uncured chicken bacon for 70% less fat but it has a great bacon flavor. No, it’s not a sponsored post but this substitute bacon has the taste I crave but helps me keep my cholesterol down. Win-win.
Curried Cashew Salad with Pear & Grapes
Use organic when available, serves 4
Curried Cashew Salad With Pear & Grapes
- 3/4 cup cashew halves
- 1 tbsp melted butter
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp Kosher salt or to taste
- 1/2 tsp black pepper or to taste
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp maple syrup or local raw honey
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 slices cooked bacon crumbled (I used uncured chicken bacon from Al Fresco)
- 10 oz mixed salad greens
- 1 medium pear thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup seedless grapes
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- Line cookie sheet with parchment paper
- Spread cashews on cookie sheet in one layer
- Bake for about 10 minutes until lightly toasted
- In medium pan mix rosemary, butter, curry powder, cayenne pepper, brown sugar, salt, and toasted nuts over medium heat
- Stir to glaze nuts
- In small bowl or bottle mix white wine vinegar, mustard, maple syrup
- Slowly whisk in olive oil
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste
- Optional shake dressing in bottle to mix
- Dressing can be stored in refrigerator for up to a week
- Slice a whole pear and cut each slice into halves or thirds
- Toss greens, pear, grapes, and bacon with dressing in large bowl
- Sprinkle nuts on top of salad
- Optional for formal presentation, leave pear slices whole and fan on salad in circular pattern
- Optional serve in individual bowls or salad plates
- Optional do not add dressing but serve on side
- Do not leave cut pears on salad ahead of time unless you have glazed with orange juice to prevent browning
- Optional blue cheese, Roquefort or Gorgonzola sprinkles can also be sprinkled on top
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