Sunday, September 16, 2012

Pear, Basil and Pecorino Toscano Salad

Fall is here (or almost here)!  And with fall - apples, pears and the very beginning of squash season.  This is my favorite time of year at the farmers' market because you still have a lot of the great summer produce (although fresh corn and basil will be disappearing shortly), but honeycrisp apples and acorn squash are making their debut.  It is so exciting.  To celebrate I decided to make this pear salad for breakfast along with some hoe cakes.  There is a story that goes with the hoe cakes, but you are going to wait until we post them to hear that particular story.  Anyway, I thought this salad was really interesting - the juxtaposition of sweet pears and basil with salty, nutty cheese totally worked for me.  It made a really nice breakfast/brunch dish.  We made the pears with hoe cakes, blending an Italian salad with a very traditional Southern dish, but I think it totally worked!

P.S.  Alex pointed out that you can see the reflection of the building across the street on the plate in our picture.  Living in an NYC apartment means that we don't exactly have a lot of options for taking pictures of our dishes, particularly not when we want natural light.  Our choices are basically the windowsill (like this picture) or the coffee table.  But I think this is the first time that we caught a reflection like that!

Recipe after the jump!

Pear, Basil and Pecorino Toscano Salad
Adapted from Serious Eats
By Sara Jenkins

12 oz Pecorino Toscano or aged cheddar cheese (we used Pecorino Toscano)
4 ripe Bosc pears, cored and cut into eighths
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves, torn
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp mild white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar (we used champagne)
1/4 tsp sea salt
coarsely ground black pepper

Using the tip of a sharp paring knife, break cheese into irregular chunks 1/2-inch in size.

Place cheese, pear slices, basil leaves, oil, vinegar, and salt in a large bowl and toss to combine. Season with pepper and more salt if needed. Serve at once.

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