A delicious match made in heaven: sweet pears + salty prosciutto + peppery arugula + toasted pecans + Parmigiano-Reggiano
This recipe was inspired by a salad in an Italian restaurant that my husband and I always go to. They dressed the greens with a simple olive oil mixture and then topped it with slices of prosciutto, big chunks of unpeeled pears, and shaved parmesan cheese.
That simple salad is already delicious but I thought of amping up the flavor by grilling the pears. Grilling pears make them a tad sweeter and softer.
TIP: Grill the pears just before serving the salad as they tend to get very soft and watery if left for a long time.
I add some toasted (unsalted) chopped pecans for added texture and nutty flavor. As with any other nuts, remember to roast them before using.
TIP: To roast nuts, heat oven to 350 F. Place the nuts in a single layer in an ungreased baking sheet. Bake until they become aromatic, about 5 minutes.
I used our favorite Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing. It goes so well with the sweet pears! Making the dressing couldn’t be easier – just add all the ingredients in a mason jar and shake them up. So simple yet so good!
Ingredients and Substitutions
- PEARS: Bosc pears are great for this salad. I slice them thinly before grilling them. But when I’m looking for that extra crunch, or when I’m feeling lazy to turn on the stove, I slice them in bigger chunks and serve the pears as they are. Both ways are equally good, so it just really depends on what mood you are in.
- ARUGULA: The peppery taste gives a slight kick to the sweet and salty flavors.
- PROSCIUTTO: Prosciutto balances the sweetness from pears. I get the thin slices from the deli.
- PECANS: Toasted (unsalted) chopped pecans add texture and nutty flavor.
- PARMIGIANO-REGGIANO: I used a vegetable peeler to shave some Parmigiano-Reggiano. You can use any other cheese like Parmesan (not the pre-grated ones), Gorgonzola, or Feta. I definitely encourage you to experiment on your own. You might be pleasantly surprised!
- THE DRESSING: Our Favorite Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing well with most salads!
How can I tell if a pear is ripe and ready to eat?
To see if a pear is ripe, simply apply a gentle pressure near the stem. If it gives slightly, it is most likely ready to be eaten. If the flesh is hard, don’t it eat it yet.
Pear, Prosciutto and Arugula Salad
For the Salad:
- 3 cups baby arugula add less or more to your liking
- 6 thinly sliced prosciutto from deli
- 1 piece firm Bosc pear
- ¼ cup chopped toasted pecans
- shaves of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing:
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon fine salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
- MAKE THE DRESSING. In a small jar with a lid, add all the dressing ingredients. Cover and shake until mixed well. Taste, and adjust the salt and pepper to your liking.
- PREPARE THE PEARS. Wash the pear and chop it in any way you like – thin or thick.
- GRILL THE PEARS. (see Note) Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Spray with nonstick spray. Lightly brush both sides of the pear slices with olive oil. Grill until they have visible grill marks, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Remove from pan and let cool.
- ASSEMBLE THE SALAD. Place arugula in a serving plate. Tear the prosciutto into pieces and scatter across the top. Add in the grilled pears, toasted pecans, and shaves of cheese. Drizzle the dressing over the salad just before serving.
- Grill the pears just before serving. They tend to get soft and watery if left for a long time.
- To roast nuts, heat oven to 350 F. Place the nuts in a single layer in an ungreased baking sheet. Bake until they become aromatic, about 5 minutes.
- You can choose not to grill the pears and use them as it is. Still delicious!