Bitter Green Salad with Roasted Pears

8 firm, ripe Bosc pears (4 lb.), peeled, cored, and cut lengthwise into 8 wedges
1-1/2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 head of radicchio
1 bunch of watercress, coarse stems discarded
1 bunch of arugula OR 1 small head of chicory and 1 small head of escarole and 1 bunch mizuna, coarse stems discarded*
1 small head romaine lettuce
Goat or feta cheese, whatever is available

1 T. finely chopped shallot or Filipino onion
2-1/2 T. cider vinegar
2 tsp. honey or more to taste
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black peppper
1/4 c. plus 1 T. extra virgin olive oil

Yield: makes 10 to 12 servings
Source: modified from a recipe at epicurious

Put oven rack in the middle position and preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Toss pears with oil and spread in a single layer in a 17- by 12-inch shallow baking pan, then season with salt and pepper. Roast pears, stirring and turning over twice, until pears are tender and beginning to brown, 20 to 30 minutes, then cool about 15 minutes.

While pears are roasting and cooling, tear enough of the greens into bite-sized pieces to measure 6 cups.

For dressing, whisk together shallot or onion, vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper, then add oil in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified.

Before serving, toss greens with salad dressing just to coat and invite guests to assemble their own salads by adding pears and cheese.

Background and caveats
I’ve made this salad several times but have never been able to find chickory, escarole, or even mizuno, which is available in most stores in Hawaii. But I’ve always had enough bitter — radicchio, watercress, and argula — and it’s worked out.
Do use bosc pears.
This makes a huge amount of salad, so cut the recipe in half for 6 servings.
I often prep everything early in the day so the salad is ready to be assembled, tossed, and dressed right before serving.
The original recipe calls for 1/2 tsp honey but I can’t imagine what they were thinking. With only 1/2 tsp., the vinegar is way too strong, and with the bitter greens it’s nice to have a dressing that has a little sweetness to it.
The cheese was my idea.  A bit of creaminess rounds out this salad.


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