In Episode 052 of the Grill Like A Mother podcast we are making a pear salad recipe! This dish is a great side to go with grilled or smoked meats; it really is simple to make and easy to customize. Make it for a holiday gathering or a family weeknight meal.
Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn, or your favorite podcast player. Or scroll down to read a full transcript.
These are some of the recipes mentioned in the episode, all of which are on Hot Pan Kitchen.
- Pear Salad
- Grilled Dijon Chicken Thighs
- Dry Rubbed Grilled Steak
- Traeger Smoked Turkey
- Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
- Naturally Sweetened Sweet Potato Casserole
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- How to split a pomegranate (video)
- Balsamic vinegar reduction recipe
- Sheet pan
- Food processor
- Small mason jar
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Taryn Solie: Hello grillers, and thank you for tuning in today! I am your host, Taryn Solie, and I am here to give you some grilling inspiration. In this episode I will be going over one recipe in detail from my recipe website, Hot Pan Kitchen, including the full ingredient list and instructions as well as some tips and tricks to help you along the way.
In today’s episode we’re making a side dish that goes well with just about any grilled meat – a green salad with pears and hazelnuts. This is a great dish particularly in the fall and winter as it has some flavors that are prevalent during those months, and it’s a deviation from the traditional green salad that people think of serving alongside their grilled or smoked meats.
I will say, my family makes some variation of this salad for a lot of our meals. Sometimes we’ll change up the ingredients a little depending on what we have on hand, but this salad almost always makes an appearance at family gatherings. It’s just so simple and flavorful, and I think you’re going to love it.
To start off let’s go over the ingredients. You will need:
- 1 large pear – I like to use a Bosc pear, but any will work;
- ⅓ cup of pomegranate seeds;
- ½ cup of hazelnuts that have been lightly toasted and chopped;
- ¼ of a red onion;
- 5 ounces of mixed greens;
- 1 to 2 tablespoons of aged balsamic vinegar;
- 3 tablespoons of a mild oil, like avocado or light olive oil; and
- A pinch of kosher salt
I’ve got several tips or really just things to keep in mind when making this recipe. First, let’s talk about the pomegranate seeds. You can definitely buy pomegranate seeds in a jar to make it easy, or you can buy a whole pomegranate and take the seeds out yourself.
There is a trick to doing this without getting juice all over yourself. You want to remove just the top part of the pomegranate (the part with the protruding stem) until you can see the off-white pulpy parts.
A pomegranate is divided into sections by that pulp, and what you’ll want to do is make a shallow incision with a sharp knife along the outside of the pomegranate where those pulp sections are. Once you’ve made all the incisions you should be able to pull the pomegranate apart by section and easily remove the seeds with your fingers. I’m going to include a link to a video that shows how to do this on the show notes page as it may be easier to visually see that.
On to the hazelnuts! Two things about them – the first is I will admit that I am influenced by the Pacific Northwest for this dish, since hazelnuts are pretty common around here. If they’re not common where you are, feel free to use a different nut like pecans or even almonds.
The second is the salad really is better if the nuts are lightly toasted. If you haven’t done it before it’s quite easy. Just turn the oven on to 350 degrees F, let it come to temperature, then place the hazelnuts onto a sheet pan and toast them for anywhere from 3 to 8 minutes. I’m giving a wide range of time for this because ovens are different and some ovens will take longer than others. Keep a good eye on the nuts so they don’t burn – I would check them after 2 minutes then give them a little shake on the pan to stir them up and put them back in the oven for another couple of minutes.
Once they’re done toasting, let them cool then roughly chop them up with a sharp knife on a cutting board. You could put them in a food processor or blender, but just be careful to not make the pieces too small. I run into this every time I do it where I over-process the nuts and the pieces end up being too small for my liking. So just be careful with that.
Okay, last thing I want to be sure and mention for this recipe is about the balsamic vinegar. The recipe calls for an aged balsamic, meaning it’s going to be thicker than just a regular balsamic vinegar. The texture should be almost syrupy and the flavor will be sweeter than a more liquidy, younger balsamic. If you don’t have access to an aged balsamic I would suggest making a balsamic reduction to mimic the texture and flavor of an aged balsamic.
I’m going to provide a link in the show notes page for how to do that, but the quick and dirty of it is to put a quarter cup of balsamic vinegar in a sauce pan over medium heat, bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the vinegar is reduced by about half. You do want to stir the mixture frequently to keep it from burning, but that’s essentially all there is to it. That should get you just enough of a reduction to use in this recipe – about 2 tablespoons. You can also make more than that if you like and keep it around to use for marinades or just as a glaze for grilled chicken or steak – it’s really good with both.
Okay, let’s get to actually making this salad, which is really quite easy. Start by slicing the pear – after it’s been washed! – with a sharp knife on a cutting board. Make sure to remove the stem and seeds before slicing, then set the pear aside while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
If the outer skin of the red onion – the part that’s flaky and dry – isn’t removed, do that now. Then thinly slice the onion and set it aside with the pear. Go ahead and chop the hazelnuts up, if you haven’t already done so after toasting them. Measure out the pomegranate seeds, either from the cup if you bought them that way or from the pomegranate fruit itself. Set these aside too.
Next you’ll make the dressing. Take out a small container or jar with a lid – like a small mason jar. Measure out 1 tablespoon of the aged balsamic vinegar and 3 tablespoons of the oil and pour both into the jar. And a pinch of kosher salt then screw the lid on tight and shake the contents to form the dressing. Remove the lid and taste the dressing. If it tastes good to you, you can use it as is. If you want to make it a little sweeter or saltier, go ahead and add in either the second tablespoon of balsamic vinegar or another pinch or two of salt – or both! – then put the lid back on and shake again to incorporate.
Now you’ll assemble the salad. Get a large bowl out and place the salad greens in it. Add in the sliced pear, pomegranate seeds, sliced onion, and chopped hazelnuts. Pour the dressing over the top and mix well, then serve!
If you are planning on serving this salad for a gathering of friends or family it is both gluten free and dairy free, so if you need to consider anyone’s allergies this may be a good option. If that’s not a concern you could certainly add a little cheese to this salad to give it a some creaminess – I would add a goat cheese or a blue cheese. You could also feel free to remove the sliced onions or serve them on the side if you have kids you’re serving this salad to. Or if you have some really picky eaters you could even make a pared down version with just the greens, the pears, and the dressing, and have a larger portion for adults with everything in it. Do what works best for you.
As for what to serve with this salad, you could make it a complete meal by adding some grilled chicken or steak on top of it. Or you could serve the salad on the side of a larger piece of meat. My family tends to have this salad around the holidays and serves it alongside our smoked turkey, which is delicious. You could also round out the meal by serving some mashed potatoes or even a sweet potato casserole with it.
I’ll include a link to the full printable recipe for this green salad with pears, as well as other recipes I’ve mentioned, on the show notes page. To get to it you can either go to my main website at Hot Pan Kitchen dot com and click on podcast in the main menu, or you can click on the link provided in whatever podcast app you’re listening on.
If you enjoyed this episode, I would love it if you would share this podcast with your friends and family! It helps spread the word and I would really appreciate it.
That’s it for today, thank you so much for listening, and until next time, keep grilling like a mother.
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