This salad is a result of a wonderful gift given to me by my friend Gina—a gorgeous Asian pear! When she first handed it to me, I was puzzled. I'm not sure I had ever eaten an Asian pear, and I wasn't sure what to do with it. Do I peel it? Do I core it? And what should I eat it with? But after some Internet searches and suggestions from Gina, I'm pretty sure I nailed it with this recipe. I mean, this salad is really, really delicious.
Unlike the pears I'm used to, Asian pears don't soften as they ripen. They have a crunch similar to an apple, but they're slightly more delicate and incredibly flavorful. While I thought about baking the pear into a tart, it's so crispy and crunchy in its raw form that I wanted to let those qualities shine.
The pear and ginger vinaigrette complements the salad perfectly. I wasn't sure how pureeing the pear in my tiny smoothie blender would work, but because of the pear's high water content, the whole thing came together beautifully. With crunchy, toasty almonds, tart grapefruit, and salty feta cheese, this salad has a bit of everything, and it's got enough going on that it can act as a main dish. Plus, it's incredibly versatile—sub blue cheese for feta, or pine nuts for the almonds.
Asian Pear Salad with Ginger Pear Vinaigrette
For the salad:
- 3 cups arugula
- 1/2 grapefruit
- 1/2 Asian pear
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta or crumbled blue cheese
- 1/4 cup almonds, toasted (I used whole almonds, but slivered would work great!)
For the vinaigrette:
- 1 2" piece ginger, peeled and sliced
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 Asian pear, cored and sliced into large pieces
- 1 1/2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp. finely grated lime zest
- kosher salt and black pepper to taste
First, make the vinaigrette. Add ginger and oil to a small saucepan set over medium heat, and cook until ginger is golden about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Strain ginger oil into a small bowl, discard ginger.
Purée the Asian pear, vinegar, lime zest, and black pepper in a blender until smooth. With the motor running, gradually add the ginger oil and blend until emulsified. Season the vinaigrette with salt. Set aside.
Separate the arugula into two serving bowls. Peel the grapefruit and separate into sections, then cut each section in half. Cut the asian pear into large slices. Top each salad with bowl grapefruit sections and Asian pear, then sprinkle the feta and toasted almonds over top. Drizzle each salad with the vinaigrette. Store leftover vinaigrette in a mason jar and keep in the refrigerator. Shake before using.