We’ve had enough cold weather that I think even the serious salad devotees are open to salads beyond those based on tender greens. A spin on the classic blue cheese-based salad, this winter mix is a little friendlier to those of us who are not indoctrinated into the cult of blue cheese-love. Now, if you absolutely had to, I suppose you could add some mold-infused cheese to this… but honestly, the lemon, walnuts, and celery offer nice counter-flavors to the fruit. And I find the textures to be a nearly divine complement to hearty autumn soups. It is, however, a cold salad. Turn the heat up before supper.
If you have some celery leaves in good shape, toss them in to add a little extra flavor and color. I’ve also made this using Asian pears, and it’s quite nice, but I do prefer the apple and Seckel pear version.
Pear, Apple, and Celery Salad
2 stalks celery, sliced vertically, and then thinly cross-wise
1/2 small tart apple, chopped
1 Seckel* pear, chopped
2 T chopped walnut, toasted
1 T golden raisins
Oil (walnut, canola, lighter olive, etc)
Toss the celery and fruit in a drizzle of lemon juice. Top with a drizzle of oil and the walnuts and raisins, if using.
*Seckel pears are quite small, and very intensely flavored. If you can’t find them, use about half of a very ripe Bosc pear instead.
** Lemon juice, or citric acid solution, is an easy way to slow the browning of cut fruit. Keeping the fruit cold also helps. Specifically, the ascorbic acid inhibits an enzyme called polyphenoloxidase. (And now you have your cocktail party tidbit of the week.) Even with the lemon juice, though, this a dish best consumed while fresh.