Saturday, October 4, 2008

Why OAMC rocks (Carmelized Pear and Walnut Salad with Orange Vinagarette)

Part of what makes Once a Month Cooking fabulous is that when the main course is taken care of, it's much easier to put some effort into a great side dish, like this salad. I served it with a previously made ham and cheese quiche.

Salad with Prosciutto and Caramelized Pears and Walnuts

  • 2 cups fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon white wine
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 pears - peeled, cored and cut into wedges
  • 1 cup walnut halves
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 pound prosciutto, cut into thin strips
  • 2 romaine hearts, rinsed and torn


  1. In a medium saucepan, heat orange juice over medium-high heat, whisking often, until it is reduced by 1/4.
  2. Add to a blender, along with the vinegar, onion, sugar, wine, salt and pepper, and process until smooth. Then, while blending on a low speed, remove cap and slowly drizzle in the olive oil to emulsify (thicken) the dressing. Chill until ready to use.
  3. Melt butter in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Saute pears and nuts in butter for 3 minutes. Add sugar and water and cook, stirring constantly, until golden brown and caramelized. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  4. In a large bowl, combine prosciutto, lettuce and the pear and walnut mixture. Add vinaigrette and toss to coat. Serve on a large Italian platter. Enjoy!
I scaled this down to just two servings and omitted the prosciutto. I also added a little feta cheese. I've been dreaming of this salad since I saw something very similar on a local-access cable cooking show months ago. It was worth the effort, as carmelized anything always is.


  1. I love the combination of flavors! Sounds delicious. I just saw some Michigan pears at the co-op so I should try this!

  2. How many servings did this make? It seems like an awful lot of dressing--I normally put maybe 1 oz. of dressing on a side salad so I'd wonder if some of it would go to waste if I made that much!

  3. I believe the original recipe was 6 servings, and there was a lot of extra dressing in the scaled down version I made.

    Half as much would easily be enough.