Caramelized Pear and Arugula Salad

Wow! Do I have a lot to talk about.

First, I really enjoyed not blogging for a week, and staying as far away from the internet as possible. Second . . . I’m glad to be back!

So much has happened in the past few weeks–my band’s first experience playing at a wedding–the marvellous wedding of Kevin and Katina! This included the Chicken Dance, in case you were curious. Jazz was sung. Tambourines were hit repeatedly, and hard. I was also the backup photographer, so there’s a whole ‘nother can of something. A Christmas party for Lydia high school students that I photographed. Our Christmas celebrations. Our trip to Wisconsin. Baby James! A visit with my grandparents (yes, the notorious Mama Kitty). Our New Years party! And the inevitable return to ye squeaky chair in ye Chi-town office.

Wow, wow, wow. Do you know how many pictures await processing? Do you know?? You don’t want to know. Heck, I don’t want to know. Even thinking about opening Photoshop makes me get cold shivers up and down my spine. By indulging in excessive photography, I’ve gone and created a beast.

So my simple solution is to take it nice and easy. Nothing ever happens in January and February anyway, right? So I can take my time and blog about December for the next 6 to 8 weeks?

Oh, good–I’m so glad you don’t mind.

Now let’s talk food.

Do you all know Donna Hay? She’s an Australian recipe developer and food stylist, and I latched on to one of her cookbooks during my first year of marriage. Latched on and didn’t let go. That Christmas everyone got a Donna Hay cookbook for Christmas. The photography and the simplicity of her recipes make her books fabulous–they’ve got the looks and the goods.

So based on the very first Donna Hay recipe that ever graced my table, I bring you an incredible salad. It serves 4 as an appetizer or side, or you can do as I did and simply have it as the main and only dish for dinner (in that case it serves 2).


(Serves 4)

2 oz (4 TBS or 1/2 stick) butter
3 TBS white wine vinegar
1 TBS brown sugar
2 firm brown pears
1/2 cup walnuts
4 oz arugula or mixed greens
5 oz soft blue cheese such as Cambozola

Wash, core and quarter the brown pears. Why must they be brown, you ask? Well, Donna says so. And I think the brown kind are softer than the green kind . . . maybe?

Place the butter, vinegar and brown sugar in a nonstick skillet over medium heat.

When the butter is melted, add the pears (flesh-side down) to the skillet.

Well bless my buttons, it’s a perfect fit! Oh lawsy.

Sprinkle in the walnuts too.

Cook for 8 minutes, until the pears are just softened. Turn the pears halfway so that both sides of the flesh get browned.

Not quite there . . .

But close. We’re looking for this lovely color:

Yes, yes, yes. Make sure you move the walnuts around during this time if they appear to be burning.

Cut the blue cheese into slices or wedges.

Place the arugula or mixed greens on serving plates and top with the pears and walnuts.

As long as you’re not afraid of a little butter, spoon the pan juices over the salad and top off each plate with a slice or two of blue cheese.

Let’s cut into one of these delectable pieces of fruit . . .

Mmmmmm. You won’t know how good this is until you taste it yourself!

So what are you waiting for??

(Sorry, am I coming on a little strong? Because I really love this salad, see.)

Happy New Year everyone! I can’t wait to read about your holiday experiences on all your blogs–I’ll be stopping by to catch up asap!

Click here for printer-friendly version: Caramelized Pear and Arugula Salad

25 thoughts on “Caramelized Pear and Arugula Salad

  1. Suzie

    Happy New Year Jenna! The salad looks wonderful and I love simple recipes like that. I look forward to seeing all your pics. Do you ever process them in RAW where you can process an entire batch at once? I’ve used it before and I was happy with the results, usually though I forget to do that though 😛

    1. Jenna Post author

      No, I’ve never tried processing in RAW–it’s definitely something to look into, especially if it speeds up the effort! And Happy New Year to you, too Suzie!!

  2. Kimby

    Hi, Jenna! Sounds like you had a lot of things happening all at once, but a good time was had by all. Those are the best kinds of breaks! Welcome back, and thank you for the crunchy/sweet/peppery/bleu cheesey/oh my goodness salad!

  3. Veronica Miller

    Welcome back! I’ve been looking forward to your return, though I did take a break myself and only posted 2 blogs in your absence. This salad sounds PheNOM and I think I would love the contrast of sweet caramelized pear and walnuts with the strong cheese, though I’ve never been a fan of blue. I can’t imagine using any other here-it sounds perfect. I love that you drag out your posts from holidays & vacations, stretching them over several weeks–it’s so much nicer than trying to cram it all into one post, which I know I have been guilty of. Happy new year to you, sweetie! So glad you’re back and can’t wait to see all the photos you took. 🙂

  4. Ann

    I have NO words to tell you how delicious that looks! I understand what you mean about editing photos….I was back up photographer for a friend’s wedding and I took 1008 photos! OIY!

  5. Julie M.

    You’ve been busy! It doesn’t surprise me that you are photographing professionally; your pictures are always stunning. Kind of like this salad. I would sooo be scooping the butter over the top. Welcome back and a happy new year to you!

    1. Jenna Post author

      Yeah . . . if only! A holiday from our holiday sounds perfect, but I’m hoping to recharge this weekend and feel ready for life again.

  6. Joanne

    I’m SO glad that you had a rockstar vacation! And that you’re back! I missed you. Dearly.

    You can totally blog about December forever if it involves masses of photos of Baby james (so cute!).

    Loving this salad. My kind of health food.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *