Recipe :: Caramelized Pear and Roasted Walnut Feta Salad

Jul 25, 2011 by

So, for a vegetarian, I don’t eat a whole lot of salads.  

But you put a caramelized pear on anything, and I’ll show up.

I blame iceberg lettuce for the small number of salads I consume.  It’s just so blah you know, and hardly even trying to be nutritious.  I like arugula salads and baby spinach salads, etc, but those are harder to come by.  And even then, it’s mostly about what you put on the salad, which makes me wonder why I’m not just eating that.

Which I guess is why I was drawn to a recipe for a corn-based feta salad I saw in Real Simple.  It looked fresh and summery and happily lettuce-less.  I also had a pear hanging around my kitchen that I had figured I would learn to caramelize at some point, and this salad presented the perfect platform.  I figure you could probably slap some arugula under this salad if you had to have greens, but it’s very lovely as it is.

I’m sad Miles is out of town this week, for a lot of reasons.  But one at the top of the list is that I’m pretty sure he’d love this salad a lot.

Caramelized Pear and Roasted Walnut Feta Salad

Ingredients (to serve 2):

  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels, raw or cooked
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 1/4 cup crumbled Feta (2 ounces)
  • 1 pear
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp butter
Caramelize the Pear:
(these instructions are for one pear; multiply the recipe accordingly)
  • Peel the pear and cut the fruit away from the core; cut into pieces as big as you’d like in your salad
  • Put the pear pieces into a small bowl and toss with 1/2tsp (two squeezes) lemon juice, a dash of sea salt, and a dash of black pepper

  • Add 1tbsp sugar and coat all pieces
  • In a pan, melt 1tbsp butter over medium heat.  When the butter is hot, add the pears.   Cook until the pears start to caramelize, about 2 to 3 minutes, flip over and caramelize the other side.
  • Remove the pears from the stove.  Put water in the empty pot right away or it will be a real hassle to clean later.

Roast the Walnuts (optional):
(this salad will taste just great with regular un-roasted walnuts, but if you’re going to be fancy and caramelize the pear, you might as well)
  • Heat oven to 400° F. 
  • Spread the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes. 
  • Let cool and roughly chop
Assemble the Salad:
  • In a large bowl, combine the corn, jalapeños, lime juice, oil, walnuts, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  • Add the caramelized pear. 
  • Sprinkle with the Feta before serving.  If you have time, chill for one hour before serving.

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