This salad embodies fall. Warm, earthy mushrooms, rich, roasted hazelnuts, and sweet, juicy pears tossed in a tangy vinaigrette. When served with a slice of crusty, artisan bread, this salad is hearty enough for lunch.
I love the idea of a warm salad, especially as the air gets colder. The warm, steamy mushrooms are comforting, and the fresh pears and radishes are refreshing. The contrast is wonderfully intriguing.
Over the summer, I bought a little bottle of truffle oil from the Ferry Market in San Francisco, and it has lasted me all the way into the chilly days of autumn. After I toasted the bread, I drizzled it with a bit of white truffle oil. Talk about luxurious flavor!
1/2 cup hazelnuts
3 tablespoons sherry or a white wine vinegar
9 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 pounds mushrooms (cremini or a mix of wild mushrooms), cleaned and sliced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 ounces salad greens such as frisé, arugula or a mix of your choice
1-2 pears, sliced
A few thinly sliced radishes
1 teaspoon fresh thyme or a couple pinches of dried
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Toast the hazelnuts on a baking sheet for 8 to 10 minutes, rolling them around once or twice to make sure they toast evenly. Rub nuts in a dish towel to remove skins then let cool. Chop the hazelnuts coarsely.
Whisk together the vinegar, 5 tablespoons of olive oil, and mustard.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter until the butter foams. Add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Sauté the mushrooms for about 5 minutes, until they’re softened but not limp (your cooking time will depend on the type of mushrooms you used).
Spread salad greens on a plate. Place radishes and pears on top. Spoon hot mushrooms over the salad greens. Pour three-quarters of the vinaigrette in the sauté pan and swirl it in the pan until heated. Season it with 1/4 teaspoon salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pour over salad and toss carefully. Adjust to taste — you may need more salt, pepper, vinaigrette or even more sherry vinegar.
Sprinkle with hazelnuts. Serve immediately.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen