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Arugula, Pear & Gorgonzola Salad

December 16, 2011

Generally, if my husband and I are going to make a salad either as our dinner or to go with our dinner, we’ll make a Waldorf Salad (see A Waldof-ish Salad).  What we love about the Waldorf salad is the different flavors that you get in the salad; the creamy and salty gorgonzola, to the crunchy apple and celery to the soft grapes.  However, it is possible to get sick of the same salad over and over again.

So, one day at the grocery store, my husband suggested that we try making a different kind of salad.  Since arugula happened to be on sale, we grabbed a bag of that and tried to think of what would go well with the spicy, peppery arugula.  We came up with an arugula, pear and gorgonzola salad tossed with a light citrus vinaigrette.  The ingredients in this salad are basic:  arugula, Bosc pear, crumbled gorgonzola cheese, and citrus vinaigrette.

For the salad, I made my own vinaigrette.  But you could surely use a store-bought bottled vinaigrette as well.  I figured that with the peppery flavor of arugula a vinaigrette with some acidity from some sort of citrus would go well.  I chose to go with a lemon vinaigrette.  I made it using fresh minced garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and olive oil.  It was the perfect balance to the other flavors of the salad.

Making the rest of the salad was simple.  Small dice a pear.  We chose to go with a Bosc pear.  It’s got some crisp and crunch to it.  And it’s sweet, but it’s not juicy and sugary.  It mixed well with the peppery arugula.  And the crispness gave the salad great texture.

All you’ve got to do now is toss the pear in with the arugula.  I’m a huge fan of arugula.  In general, I love pepper, and I love that these greens have a tiny bite to them with that hint of pepperiness.  I also love that it’s not too leafy.  I don’t want to feel like I’m constantly chewing.  Finally, arugula holds up really well to vinaigrettes and dressing.  So you could pre-dress the greens before serving and it won’t wilt all that much.  It’s got great body to it.  I think after having eaten this salad that was exclusively arugula, my husband discovered that he too really likes the flavor of arugula.

Toss the vinaigrette in with the arugula and the pear.  The acidity of the lemon juice will help keep the pears from browning.  Brown pears in your salad are just unappealing.  Make sure that you have enough vinaigrette in your salad to coat the pears and the arugula.

Finally, throw in some crumbled gorgonzola cheese.  My husband has turned me on to the virtues of gorgonzola.  I am not a fan of blue cheese, but for some reason, I feel gorgonzola is different.  It’s creamy, and it’s got a bit of the bite of blue cheese, but it’s not full on blue cheese.  When you put crumbled gorgonzola in a salad and mix it all in, the little bursts of flavor you get when you take a forkful of salad and get some gorgonzola cheese becomes amazingly flavorful.

As soon as the salad was done, before either my husband or I had eaten any of it, we knew we had a winner.  Sometimes, when you make something, you just know that it’s going to be good.  We knew this was going to be good.

We served it as a side salad to some salmon filets that we had grilled up.  It was the perfect accompaniment.

You can bet that arugula, pear and gorgonzola immediately made its way onto our food repertoire.  It’s simple to make.  Full of rich and vibrant flavors.  And perfect with almost any entrée.  It can’t really get much simpler than this!

One Comment leave one →
  1. December 18, 2011 5:32 am

    I have pear trees in my orchard and make a similar salad. I add pecans to the salad as well…sometimes candied. I just made a salad with oranges which are in season now that you might also like.

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