Poached Pear Arugula Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

16 Apr

Poached Pear Arugula Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

My dad is half-rabbit. Okay, not really. Because that would be very weird and that would make me a quarter rabbit, which I’m not, I’m all fox. Get it?! Yeah… (insert major eye roll from Chris). For most of his adult life, my dad has been a vegetarian. And I mean a “veggie-tarian”, heavy emphasis on the veg. I think he consumes more lettuce in a day than all of the East coast combined. He eats so much lettuce that he now grows it in his garden, to be able to satiate his consumption. I guess it could be worse, he could eat his weight in Reese’s Peanut Butter cups (which would be my choice); but that’s not the case and that is probably why he looks like he could be my brother, not my dad. Listen up peeps: Veggies do a body good! In my mind, it’s “Cookies do a body good!”. But not really, it’s more “Sugary-things-make-me-feel-happy-and-that-is-why-I-consume-so-many!”

Even though I prefer sweets, I grew up eating a salad at every meal, but back in the day, my oh-so discerning palate (note the heavy sarcasm) meant that my salad consisted of iceberg lettuce, carrots and black olives, with some lemon juice on top. There was never anything more added to my salad. Never. Ever. Now I wince every time my toddler is being picky (sorry mom and dad, I guess payback really is a bee-yotch!).

However, over the years I have grown to love all different types of lettuces and salad add-ins. Although I have a hard time justifying spending $12 at those “make-your-own” salad places, I am such a sucker for them! So this is a “fancy” salad that is really easy to make and will easily impress dinner guests (“Oh you poached fruit just for me?!? Oh you shouldn’t have.”) Or you should. Because it’s super easy and the results are fabulously delicious.  The sweetness of the pears offsets the peppery flavor of the arugula and with the sharpness of the cheese, your tastebuds will thank you. You’re welcome tastebuds. You’re welcome.

Poached Pear Arugula Salad ingredients

Poached Pear Arugula Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette (makes 4 servings)


1/8 cup parmesean (for finishing)

For the Poached Pears

2 small ripe pears (we used Bosc)

2 ½ cups orange juice

1 cup white wine

¼ cup sugar

2 bay leaves

2 whole cloves

¼ teaspoon black pepper

For the Lemon Vinaigrette (makes ½ cup)

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

5 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Core the pears from the bottom using a melon-baller or a metal measuring spoon, leaving stems intact

Coring pear

Combine all the poaching ingredients into a 4 quart saucepan and bring liquid to a simmer; add the pears (they will only be submerged halfway)

Poached Pears

Simmer in liquid for 15 minutes and then turn the pears over and simmer for another 15 minutes

Remove pears with tongs and cut in half length-wise; return to liquid and simmer for an additional 5 minutes, until fork tender

Remove pears and slice into strips and then cut strips in half (you will be left with 2 inch, thin chunks); set aside and cool

 Combine all ingredients for dressing into a glass jar/bowl and shake/stir to combine
Lemon Vinaigrette
Immediately toss arugula with the vinaigrette and top with poached pears.  Sprinkle parmesean and top with fresh cracked black pepper.

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