We first made this baby arugula, pear, walnut and Asiago cheese salad a couple of years ago when some friends came over for dinner and it has been a hit every time we have made it. The flavors and the textures of the ingredients just work together and make a wonderful salad that goes well with most meals, especially beef. The best part is that it is super easy to make.
The first thing you need to do is rinse and dry the arugula then place it in a large bowl. Add enough olive oil to lightly coat the arugula, about 1 tablespoon. To that, add some fresh cracked black pepper. Set aside the arugula for now.
Once you do that, coarse chop the walnuts into about 1/4 inch pieces. We like to lightly toast them, but that is optional. To toast the walnuts, place the chopped walnuts in a pan and heat the pan over medium heat gently shaking so the nuts don’t burn. Once the nuts have been toasted, add them to the arugula and lightly mix.
The next step is to cut the pear. Usually, we quarter the pear by cutting it in half straight down the middle, then cutting each piece in half again cutting downward. Then cut out the core. We then take the pieces and slice them by hand or on a mandolin so they are in thin strips. Fan the strips out on a plate as the base for the salad. The best type of pear to use is the Royal Riviera Pear, but if it is not available then the next best is a red pear, but whatever type of pear you use, make sure it is ripe.
Now it is time to shred the Asiago cheese. Use a coarse shred for best results. Also, do not buy pre-shredded cheese. Add the shredded Asiago to the arugula and lightly toss.
Place the salad on the pears and serve.
- 1 box baby arugula (about 5 ounces)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (give or take as needed)
- ¼ cup coarse chopped walnuts (toasted)
- 4 ounces Asiago cheese (shredded)
- Pear, thinly sliced
- Fresh cracked black pepper to taste (about 1 teaspoon)
- Wash and dry the Arugula, put in bowl.
- Add Olive Oil and Pepper to Arugula, set aside.
- Coarse chop the Walnuts (about ⅛ – ¼ inch).
- Put the Walnuts in the hot pan and gently toss for about 30 seconds to a minute, add to Arugula. Be careful not to burn the nuts.
- Shred the Asiago cheese, do not use preshredded cheese as it doesn’t taste as good as fresh Asiago.
- Add the Asiago to the Arugula and toss.
- Slice Pear in half and then in half again, clean out core and slice thin. A mandolin works great, but you can use a knife also. A Riviera pear is preferred but if they are not available then the next best is a red pear, but for what ever type of pear you use, make sure it is ripe.
- Arrange the pear in a fan arrangement on the plate.
- Arrange a large mound of Arugula on top of the pears, about a cup.