Salad with Pear, Pomegranate and Pumpkin Seeds

I was given some beautiful pears last week. (Thanks, Carol!)  We have mostly been enjoying them “straight up”, eaten out of hand.  But I’ve also been putting them in salads.

I came up with a new salad combining pears and of some our other favorite flavors that is worth sharing.  Pear, avocado and fried pumpkin seeds are combined with baby salad greens, then ruby-red pomegranate seeds are sprinkled over it for a festive look and little bursts of sweet-tart juice. Parmesan shavings add another complementary flavor and the whole thing is just delicious.  This is easy enough for an everyday salad, but is also worthy of the fanciest celebration dinner.

The salad looks prettiest before the pomegranate seeds are mixed in with the larger salad components; you may wish to sprinkle the pomegranate seeds on top after tossing the rest of the salad with the vinaigrette.

Salad with Pear, Pomegranate and Pumpkin Seeds

2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
¼ cup olive oil
7 cups baby salad greens
1 avocado
1 ripe pear
1/3 cup parmesan shavings (use a vegetable peeler to make these from a block of    parmigiano reggiano cheese)
½ pomegranate

1½ tablespoons Sherry vinegar (or other vinegar)
salt and pepper

Pour the olive oil into a skillet and heat over medium-high heat.  Add the pumpkin seeds to the skillet and fry until the seeds puff up and begin to make popping noises.  Use a slotted spoon to remove the seeds to a paper towel-lined plate.  Pour off the oil from the skillet into a small bowl. (This oil will be used to make a vinaigrette).

Wash the salad greens, spin dry and put into a large salad bowl.  Remove the skin and pit of the avocado, cut it into quarters and cut each quarter into slices.  Add the avocado to the salad greens.  Peel the pear, core and quarter it, and cut each quarter into slices.  Add the pear slices and parmesan shavings to the salad.

Score the skin of the pomegranate with a knife at intervals so that the skin is easy to invert for removing the seeds.   Sprinkle the pomegranate seeds over the salad (or toss the salad with the dressing before adding the pomegranate seeds).

Make the vinaigrette:
To the small bowl of olive oil from frying the pumpkin seeds, add 1½ tablespoons Sherry vinegar (or other vinegar) and whisk together.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Dress the salad just before serving.

Makes approximately six servings.

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