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Dinner Tonight: Pear, Parmesan, and Cashew Salad

I guess I'm usually suspicious of nut and cheese salads. It doesn't take much for a salad to get out of hand—from fancy cheese to fruity vinaigrettes to imported glazed nuts. In my opinion, a tossed salad should always remain a simple affair resting on the quality and tastiness of the greens themselves. Often, you need nothing more than oil, acid, and salt.

Yet I've eaten this particular salad—loosely based on an old Jamie Oliver recipe—at least three times in the last week, thanks to a friend from Montreal who introduced me to the recipe. The essential green is arugula, which provides important pepperyness against the sweet pear, but to bulk out the arugula any good mesclun greens mix works. There's no need to mix a dressing, either; just add a few rounds of olive oil, the juice of a lemon, and a healthy pinch of salt. In go cashews, a sliced pear, and shavings of hard cheese like Parmesan or Piave.

About the author: Blake Royer lives in Brooklyn and spends most of his free time cooking and writing about it here at Serious Eats and on The Paupered Chef. From 9 to 5 weekdays, he works as an assistant book editor in Manhattan.

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