Chef’s Notes: I found this recipe in Soup Makes The Meal. It’s wonderfully simple yet very tasty. This dish perfectly captures the flavors of autumn!
Pears and Apples Salad with Toasted Walnut Dressing
5 or 6 servings
1 C. walnuts, coarsely chopped
3 T. olive oil
3 T. cider
1 ½ T. cider vinegar
1 T. firmly packed light brown sugar
3 large ripe pears, peeled (about 3 C. diced)
2 large crisp apples, peeled (about 2 C. diced)
Small handful raisins (optional) (I used dried cranberries)
2 to 3 T. heavy cream, to taste (I used 2 T. half-and-half)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven until fragrant and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and tilt them off the sheet and onto a plate or your work counter (they’ll keep toasting if you leave them on the sheet).
Put 1/3 cup of the still-warm nuts in a blender or mini-chopper. Add the olive oil, cider, vinegar, and brown sugar and process the mixture until smooth, then set aside.
Quarter and core the pears. Cut them into bite-sized chunks and put them in a medium-size bowl. Do the same for the apples. Toss in the remaining 2/3 cup chopped nuts and the raisins, if you’re using them.
Pour the dressing over the fruit and toss well to coat evenly. Add the cream and toss again to coat evenly. Serve the salad at once, or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed, up to a few hours.