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Roasted Pear & Arugula Salad with Pomegranate-Chipotle Vinaigrette
“Here we serve roasted pears with arugula and mixed greens and an agave-sweetened pomegranate dressing. The chipotle in the dressing gives a hint of smokiness and just a touch of heat that is wonderful with sweet pear. Apples may be used in place of the pears. Adapted from Cooking with the Seasons at Rancho La Puerta: Recipes from the World-Famous Spa (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2008) by Deborah Szekely and Deborah M. Schneider with Chef Jesús González, Chef of La Cocina Que Canta.”
6 small ripe but firm pears
1 tablespoon agave syrup, (see Note)
⅓ cup unsweetened pomegranate juice
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
1 small shallot, minced
1 small clove garlic, minced
⅛ teaspoon sea salt
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
⅛ teaspoon ground chipotle chile, (see Note), or more to taste
Pinch of ground cloves
4 cups baby arugula
2 cups mixed baby lettuces
Pomegranate seeds, (optional; see Tip)
1Preheat oven to 350°F.
2Slice off the base of each pear so it will stand upright. Use an apple corer (or small spoon) to remove cores, if desired, working from the base up. Peel if desired, but leave the stems on. Place the pears on a baking sheet and brush with agave syrup. Roast until browned and tender, 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the size and ripeness of the pears.
3Whisk pomegranate juice, vinegar, oil, brown sugar, orange zest, shallot, garlic, salt, pepper, chipotle and cloves in a large bowl or puree in a blender.
4Toss arugula and lettuce with the dressing in a large bowl and divide among 6 chilled plates. Set a pear on each plate and scatter some pomegranate seeds on the greens (if using).
Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate the dressing (Step 3) for up to 3 days.
Notes: Agave syrup or nectar is the naturally sweet juice extracted from the agave plant. It has a lower glycemic index and is lower in calories than table sugar, but is even sweeter. Use it in moderation when substituting for table sugar. Look for it near other sweeteners in natural-foods stores.
Chipotle peppers are dried, smoked jalapeño peppers. Ground chipotle can be found in the specialty-spice section of most supermarkets or online at penzeys.com.
Tip: To seed a pomegranate, fill a large bowl with water. Hold the pomegranate in the water and slice off the crown. Lightly score the fruit into quarters, from crown to stem end. Keeping the fruit under water, break it apart, gently separating the plump seeds from the outer skin and white pith. The seeds will drop to the bottom of the bowl and the pith will float to the surface. Discard the pith. Pour the seeds into a colander. Rinse and pat dry. The seeds can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Cut Down on Dishes: A rimmed baking sheet is great for everything from roasting to catching accidental drips and spills. For effortless cleanup and to keep your baking sheets in tip-top shape, line them with a layer of foil before each use.