If you are anything like me, you are the type of person that likes to host dinners. Hosting dinner for your friends and family should involve some good wine (or fair wine, as long as there is any! Gotta have the wine!), some appetizers, some good bread, a salad course, a soup course (cold soup for summer months and hot soup during fall and winter), then the entree (offer a couple of choices here, come on now, don’t be stingy with the options) and a dessert! And a cigar after the dessert! And some cognac right after. And chocolate for your guests on their way out.
Right? No, I’m just joking! I mean, if you are anything like me, that’s the kind of dinner you want to host. But honestly, there’s only one trick you need to have up your sleeve when hosting a dinner party at your house! The trick is this salad right here! This roasted pear and prosciutto salad!
This pear and prosciutto salad is fancy, delicious, it’s sweet and savory, it’s nutty and vinaigrettey, it’s light, but memorable! I speak from experience! This is my go-to salad to serve to my guests! Super easy to make, requires very simple steps and you can totally make the dressing ahead and just give it a good shake before serving it!
Something about the combination of the gorgonzola with the pear and prosciutto just gives me goosebumps! Combine that with the peppery arugula taste and the light tartness of the dressing and you’ve got yourself an explosion of flavors in your mouth that will sweep you off your feet. Throw a little handful of nuts on the salad to add a salty crunchiness that will improve every bite!
So from no on, don’t go crazy looking for impressive recipes or for the best cognac brand to make your dinner memorable! Make this salad and be a winner! Drop the seven course meal idea and free yourself! Two things, though, I stand by the wine, and by the chocolate on the way out, that’s just common sense, people!
For the salad:
- 2 pears I like to use firm Bosc pears for this salad
- 4 slices prosciutto
- 4 teaspoons gorgonzola cheese scooped from a block
- 4 cups arugula
- ½ cup nuts and dried fruits I like to use dried cranberries and walnuts, but have used pistachios, pumpkin seeds, raisins and they have all tasted delicious
For the dressing:
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon honey
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Few grinds of pepper
- 1/3 cup olive oil
Pre-heat the oven to 375ºF. Cut pears in half lengthwise and scoop the middle out with a melon baller or a spoon. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicon mat, cut side up and roast them for 10-20 minutes, depending on how firm and ripe the pears are.
Place the prosciutto slices on top of the pears. Arrange them in a way that they will cover the surface of the pear, but will leave the middle free. In the middle, scoop the teaspoon of gorgonzola cheese. Return baking sheet to the oven and roast for 5 more minutes.
Remove pears from the oven and let them rest to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, start making the dressing and plating the salad.
For the dressing, whisk all ingredients except for the olive oil in a bowl. Start adding the olive oil in a fine stream while whisking. This process should take a few minutes to complete, as you should slowly add the oil, to emulsify the dressing.
To plate, arrange 2 cups of arugula in each plate. Sprinkle ¼ cup of nuts over leaves. Place two pears on the top and drizzle dressing over.