Caramelized Pear Spinach Salad with Pomegranate and Pecans
If I were officially developing a pear salad, I’d naturally combine the sweetness of pears with peppery arugula. But this salad was an unexpected, delicious accident—I randomly teamed up pears with baby spinach after rummaging through my fridge for ingredients.
The results were surprising—and amazing. I did know that fragrant ripe pears are lovely when caramelized, and I added some of the juice from the caramelized pears to the vinaigrette to lend the dressing a pear-infused taste. I love testing my recipes on large crowds, and when we attended a fabulous dinner party hosted by Yali, I was presented with the perfect opportunity to test this recipe. So when Yali suggested that we should plate the salad individually as an appetizer instead of serving it in the center of the table, it was the perfect idea—and all the plates were wiped clean.
6 – 8
2 large Anjou pears, peeled, cored, and cut lengthwise into eighths
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup oil
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. honey
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
½ tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. fresh black pepper
Juice from the caramelized pears
10 oz. baby spinach
1 cup honey-glazed pecans
¾- 1 cup Craisins
1 cup pomegranate seeds
1. Preheat the oven to 425° F. Dip the flat sides of the sliced pears in the lemon juice and then in the brown sugar. In a large baking pan, arrange the pears in a single layer and roast for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Cut each pear wedge into 1-inch slices. (Make sure to reserve the pear juice that was released during the roasting for the dressing.)
2. To prepare the dressing: In a small bowl, vigorously whisk together the oil, vinegar, honey, mustard, garlic, salt, black pepper, and the reserved pear juice until well combined.
3. In a large salad bowl, combine the baby spinach, pears, glazed pecans, and Craisins. Toss with the dressing and sprinkle evenly with the pomegranate seeds. Serve immediately. Dairy Version: Sprinkle the salad with grated goat or feta cheese before serving.
For those who dare to be more adventurous in the kitchen and possess a fearless palate, this tuna tartare will give you an urge to diverge. This recipe is the culmination of many different tartare recipes that I’ve experimented with. Now tuna tartare has become a staple in all of my holiday and Shabbos lunches. At first my family was a bit skeptical about eating raw fish, but after bravely tasting my tuna tartare more than a few times, they now thoroughly enjoy it, and it’s become a desired substitute for tuna fish salad in my home. If you prefer not to eat raw fish, sear the tuna for twenty seconds per side. For best results, tuna tartare should be prepared no more than four hours in advance.
6 – 8
½ lb. sushi-grade tuna, finely diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 tsp. shallots, minced
1 tsp. chives, minced
1 tsp. lite soy sauce
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. lime juice
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 Tbsp. oil
1 tsp. seasoned rice vinegar
In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients until mixed. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve. Serve on your favorite crackers, won ton crisps or bread.
Scallion Quinoa Patties With Lemon Garlic Paprika Aioli
Creating the best recipe for quinoa presented a serious challenge. Quinoa is so healthy and good for you, and you know you should like it, but perhaps you’ve tried enough variations of quinoa to assume that it just doesn’t do it for you.
Not anymore. I was very demanding in my quest for the best quinoa recipe, and my efforts have paid off. This recipe will change how you feel about quinoa—guaranteed.
10 – 12 patties
2½ cups cooked quinoa (prepared according to package directions)
1 cup flavored cornflake crumbs
1¼ tsp. kosher salt or sea salt
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup scallions or chives, thinly sliced
Fresh black pepper
Oil, for frying
½ cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. water
½ tsp. paprika
1. To prepare the aioli: In a small bowl, combine the aioli ingredients until mixed.
2. To prepare the patties: In a medium bowl, combine the quinoa, eggs, cornflake crumbs, salt, garlic, scallions or chives, and black pepper.
3. In a skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Form the quinoa mixture into patties and fry in the oil until golden and crispy, about 5 minutes per side. Serve warm or at room temperature with the aioli spooned on top.
Excerpted from CHIC Made Simple. Who says easy can’t be fabulous? More than 185 deliciously dazzling recipes, accompanied by over 210 magnificent photographs.
Get ready to revamp your whole menu: fresh ideas for mains, sides and desserts in the coming weeks.
Esther Deutsch is a New York–based food stylist, columnist, and recipe developer. Chic Made Simple features her most celebrated recipes, as well as many that have never been published before. Esther resides in New York with her husband and children.