Pears with Arugula, Cheese and Walnut Oil

Ah, the holidays. This is the time of year I most love to be in the kitchen, cozy and warm by the stove with a new cookbook.  And believe it or not, my least favorite time of year to be in the garden, soggy and cold with a shovel, digging potatoes.  But that is exactly where I was recently, preparing for the latest cooking workshop.  Harvesting potatoes and arugula from the winter garden, imagining how tasty they would be in my holiday appetizers!  And thanks to my lovely co-chefs, the appetizers turned out great!

Today’s recipe was my personal favorite.  Great ingredients, simply prepared, allowing the flavor of each ingredient to shine.  Juicy crisp Bosc pear, peppery arugula, creamy nutty local cheese, and just a drizzle of walnut oil and a sprinkle of smoked sea salt to bring the flavors together.  Delicious.  Try it with your favorite sparkling wine…

Pears with Arugula, Cheese and Walnut Oil

*Indicates ingredients that are grown or produced locally

Makes 6-12 Servings

  • 1 Small bunch arugula, or 24 arugula leaves, washed & dried
  • 2 Ripe pears (Bosc, Comice, Anjou, Bartlett)
  • 2 Limes, quartered
  • 6 Ounces semi-hard cheese (Mt. Townsend Trailhead Tomme or Estrella Old Apple Tree Tomme)
  • 1 Tablespoon walnut oil
  • Smoked sea salt (or kosher salt)

Tear or cut 24 arugula leaves so that each leaf is 3-4 inches long. Place each leaf separately on a large platter. Get a large mixing bowl for the pears. Cut each pear lengthwise around the core, discard core and slice the pears into at least 24 slices, ¼ to ½ inch thick. As you cut the pears, place them into the bowl and squeeze lime juice over every so often to prevent browning. When all the pears are in the bowl, toss well with the lime juice. Place one pear slice on each arugula leaf. Use a vegetable peeler to shave thin slices of cheese over the pears, making sure each pear has some cheese on top. Drizzle everything with walnut oil and sprinkle with smoked sea salt to taste.