I might be jumping the gun on the fall recipes here, but it's still a nice, crisp salad so I think it's an acceptable transition recipe! Of course, we're very much in between seasons, but every day is some weird hybrid of summer and autumn. I wake up in the morning and I need a light hoodie to walk to work. I leave work and I would be dying if I were still wearing that hoodie. Thus draws my inspiration for this changing of seasons salad.
The bed of this salad is a mix of arugula and spinach, tossed with thinly sliced fennel and shallot to add some depth in flavor. While the pears are sauteed to soften their texture, they still lend this salad a light, crisp feel. While flavor is, of course, the most important element in creating a dish, I also admire the subtle beauty of pears. They may be neutral in color, but there is just something so elegant about their appearance. Of course, being vegan and consuming a diet of mostly produce, it would almost be a challenge to put together a plate that isn't beautiful. With the abundance of color and organic shapes available in nature.. but I digress..
My favorite element in this salad is the dressing. There were actually a few last minute changes made to the dressing which took it above and beyond. Originally, I had made a simple balsamic vinaigrette, which was fine. In the end, though, it just fell a little flat. To give credit where it is due, it was actually my chef at work who helped me perfect the dressing. I told him all of the components of my salad and he suggested a honey and thyme balsamic vin. Of course, honey is a no-go, so I chose to sub it with maple syrup. I'm actually really pleased with the end result. It pairs so well with the salad and.. maybe makes it a little more autumn than 'transitional' but that's alright because it's delightful.
Sautéed Pear and Fennel Salad with Maple Thyme Balsamic Vinaigrette
My name is Ellen Jane and I spend my free time doing vegan experiments in my kitchen so you don't have to. Take a look around.