Mâche and Asian Pear Salad with Hazelnuts
Mâche is unforgettable. I call it the princess of all leafy greens.
The tiny lettuce, when picked young, looks like a rosette, no bigger than a small daisy. Also known as corn salad, field salad, or lamb's lettuce, mâche thrives in cool weather and, contrary to its delicate features, is a pretty hardy little plant. It's also packed with many nutrients.
But I will confess that’s not the reason I love mâche. What truly enchants me is its subtle and succulent flavor, which makes for the most elegant salads and garnishes.
In this recipe, I serve the mâche with super-thin slices of Asian pear, and toss the tender greens with a shallot and truffle vinaigrette. The sweetness of the petite lettuces harmonizes beautifully with the aromatic pears and the more pungent vinaigrette.
See all salad recipes.
*Note: Store any leftover nuts in an airtight container for up to 1 month.
For the vinaigrette
- 1 Tablespoon minced shallots
- 1 Tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
- 3 Tablespoons white truffle oil
- 1/8 Teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the salad
- 1/4 Cup hazelnuts
- 1 1/2 Asian pears, halved crosswise, cored, and sliced thinly with a mandoline
- 5 Ounces baby mâche
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Calories Per Serving198
Folate equivalent (total)41µg10%
Mâche and Asian Pear Salad with Hazelnuts - Recipes
We serve this traditional flavor pairing-beets, goat cheese, and walnuts&mdashas a cheese course, but it could just as easily be an appetizer. The beets are not cooked sous vide, because in this dish we like the complex flavors that develop through roasting, but we do marinate the cooked and cooled beets in oil and sherry vinegar sous vide to give them even more flavor.
Blue Apron goat cheese is made specially for us, but any fresh goat cheese, such as Coach Farm, would work in this recipe. We blend the goat cheese with buttermilk and canola oil to make the coulis, then pass it through a strainer for a very smooth texture. The walnuts are first cooked in a simple syrup, then deep-fried until very crispy. The dish is finished with beet powder and a beet reduction, and a delicate salad of baby mâche.
- 4 small red beets
- 4 small pink beets
- 4 small yellow beets
- 75 grams canola oil
- 15 black peppercorns
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
- 9 thyme sprigs
- 30 grams kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 45 grams extra virgin olive oil
- 60 grams sherry vinegar
- 150 grams water
- 150 grams granulated sugar
- 100 grams raw walnuts
- Canola oil for deep-frying
Goat Cheese Coulis
- 40 grams buttermilk
- 40 grams crème fraîche
- 25 grams canola oil
- 150 grams fresh goat cheese
- 2 grams champagne vinegar
- Kosher salt
- 465 grams beet juice
- 5 grams granulated sugar
- Red wine vinegar
- Kosher salt
- 1 kilogram cold water
- 3.3 grams ascorbic acid
- 1 Anjou or Asian pear
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Champagne vinegar
- Fleur de sel
- Beet Powder (page 263 of the book)
For the Beets: Wash the beets and trim the stems to about 1 inch. Put each type of beet on a piece of aluminum foil. Divide the canola oil, peppercorns, garlic, thyme, and salt among the beets, wrap up in the foil, and place on a sheet tray Roast at 400°F for 25 minutes, or until there is no resistance when the beets are pierced with a sharp knife. Cool slightly
When they are cool enough to handle, rub each warm beet with a C-fold towel to remove the skin. Trim away the stems and roots.
Place each type of beet in its own bag and season each with 15 grams of the olive oil, 20 grams of the sherry vinegar, and salt to taste. Vacuum pack on high. Refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours.
For the Candied Walnuts: Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. (When you candy nuts, the simple syrup should just cover them.) Stir in the walnuts and reduce the heat to medium. Simmer very gently adjusting the heat as necessary for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the liquid reduces and the nuts are glazed. As the syrup reduces, stir the nuts from time to time to cook them evenly: Pour out onto a rack set over a sheet pan. Separate any nuts that have stuck together.
To Complete: Heat the canola oil to about 163°C (325°F). Add about half the nuts-do not crowd them-and fry moving them around from time to time, until they are a rich brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove to a parchment-lined sheet pan. Repeat with the remaining nuts. Once cooled, the walnuts can be cut into smaller pieces as desired.
For the Goat Cheese Coulis: Combine the buttermilk crème fraîche, and oil in a Vita-Prep and blend well. Add the cheese and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary: Strain through a chinois or fine-mesh conical strainer into a bowl. Stir in the vinegar and season to taste with salt.
For the Beet Reduction: Bring the beet juice to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat and boil to reduce. Each time you can see a ring around the side of the pan, strain the juice into a clean pan. Reduce until the juice has reduced by three-quarters. Add the sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves and the reduction is at the desired viscosity: Add a few drops of red wine vinegar and salt to taste.
For the Pear: Combine the water and ascorbic acid in a bowl, stirring to dissolve the ascorbic acid. Peel the pear. Working quickly since the pear can discolor, cut into 1/2-inch wedges: to cut perfect wedges, leave the pear whole and cut the wedges away from it, stopping short of the core. As you cut, drop the wedges into the acidulated water.
Drain the wedges and toss with a light coating of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt. Place in a single layer in a bag and vacuum-pack on high.
At Service: With a spoon, sweep some goat cheese coulis across the top half of each plate. Brush a band of beet reduction over the bottom. Lightly dress the mache leaves with olive oil, champagne vinegar, and fleur de sel. Arrange the beets on the plates, garnish with the mâche and walnut pieces, and sprinkle the plates with beet powder and fleur de sel.
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 8 dried dates, pitted and quartered lengthwise
- 8 paper-thin slices prosciutto (about 4 ounces), cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
- 1 cup (about 8 sprigs) loosely packed mint leaves
- 1 Asian pear, cored and sliced into 1/2-inch wedges
- 4 cups (about 11 ounces) mixed frisee, baby arugula, and other small greens
In a large bowl, toss together greens, dates, prosciutto, mint, and pear. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice and oil season with salt and pepper. Pour mixture over salad. Toss to combine well, and serve immediately.
Asian Pear Salad with Gorgonzola and Toasted Pistachios
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This salad lends itself to endless variations. Try it with other greens, nuts, and cheese, or omit the cheese for a vegan version.
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 1 large shallot, finely chopped (1/4 cup)
- 3 Tbs. rice wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 Tbs. honey
- 6 cups mâche lettuce
- 1 medium Asian pear, cored and cut into matchsticks
- 1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (2 oz.)
- 3 Tbs. shelled, toasted pistachios, chopped
1. Heat oil in small non-stick skillet over low heat. Add shallot, and sauté 4 minutes, or until soft. Remove from heat, and stir in vinegar and honey.
2. Divide mâche among four salad plates. Top each serving with Asian pear matchsticks, cheese, and pistachios, and drizzle with dressing.
Fennel and Asian Pear Salad “Home Style”
Cut off the tops from the fennel bulbs. Remove and reserve about 1/4 cup tender fronds and discard the tops. Core and very thinly slice one of the fennel bulbs, on a mandoline, if you have one. Keep the sliced fennel in a bowl of ice water while you prepare the rest of the salad. Halve the Asian pear, core and thinly slice as well.
Halve the remaining fennel bulb, trim the tough outer skin and remove most but not all of the core. Slice lengthwise about 1/2 inch thick, leaving it attached at the core (you should get about 8 pieces or so.) Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the thicker sliced fennel in one layer and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the underside is caramelized, about 2 minutes. Turn the pieces and caramelize the second side. Cover and cook until the fennel is tender, about 10 minutes. The fennel should be tender but still hold its shape. Remove to a plate to cool slightly while you assemble the salad.
In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Drain and pat the thinly sliced fennel dry. Add to the bowl with the dressing along with the sliced Asian pear. Toss to coat in the dressing.
To serve, arrange the cooked fennel on a serving platter or plates. Mound the salad over top. Sprinkle the pistachios and reserved fronds all around and finely grate a shower of Grana Padano over top. Finish with a grinding of black pepper and serve.
Spinach Salad with Asian Pear, Cranberries, Shallots, and Toasted Hazelnuts
1/2 cup Extra virgin olive oil
2 TBS Balsamic Vinegar
2 tsp Dijon Mustard
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
pepper to taste
1 thinly sliced shallot
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 cups baby spinach leaves (not packed down)
1 firm ripe Asian pear (small one with thin skin is best)
1/4 cup toasted chopped hazelnuts
Crunchy Asian Pear Salad
It's not often you hear the word crunchy when referring to a salad. But doesn't that sound good? This salad not only packs some crunch, but these simple, seasonal ingredients offer such a pleasing flavor when combined together.
My husband is not much of a salad eater. On occasion, he refers to salad as rabbit food. That is probably one of only a few things we feel differently about. On the contrary, I am a huge salad person. For me, a meal isn't complete without some sort of leafy greens going on. But when my husband tried this salad, he actually went back for seconds and declared his love for this crunchy combination. Folks, we have a winner in the salad category!
On our recent trip to Japan, we devoured some delectable Asian pears. They have a slightly different texture (in my opinion), than other pears more commonly eaten in the U.S. Honestly, their texture almost reminds me of a firm watermelon in the fact that they seem to have a higher water content than other pears. They are firm, crisp, and mildly sweet. Those qualities are what makes these pears a perfect ingredient. It's truly a nice balance when you combine them with the cabbage and fennel. Then, throw in some hazelnuts to add a final touch, which create some crunch with every bite! Nom nom.
Delicious fruit we admired in Japan:
The salad dressing is simple, yet flavorful, again adding the perfect amount of taste without overpowering the salad. I recommend tossing the salad with half of the dressing to start, and add more from there if needed. Another bonus is this salad offers some amazing digestive benefits as the pears, fennel, and cabbage are all known as digestive powerhouses! So if you happen to live with non-salad lovers, give this salad a try and perhaps they will change their perspective on salads too! They aren't always rabbit food! And I think it foes without saying that if you are a fan of salads, you are really going to love this one.
Dilled Celery, Asian Pear, and Hazelnut Salad
This winter salad, pairing the juicy snap of Asian pear and celery, then studded with hazelnuts and laced with dill, gets its inspiration from the classic Waldorf salad. It’s especially nice served alongside a wedge of blue-veined cheese, such as Point Reyes Blue, Maytag Blue, or Bleu d’Auvergne.
Total Time under 30 minutes
Occasion Casual Dinner Party, Cooking for a date, Family Get-together
Recipe Course cold appetizer
Dietary Consideration egg-free, gluten-free, lactose-free, low carb, low cholesterol, soy free, vegan, vegetarian
Taste and Texture fruity, herby, light, nutty, tangy
Type of Dish first course salad
- 1½ tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup hazelnut oil or extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups thinly sliced celery
- ¼ cup coarsely chopped dill weed
- 1 medium unpeeled Asian pear or Bosc pear, cored and cut into thick matchsticks
- ½ cup coarsely chopped toasted hazelnuts
Whisk together the vinegar, mustard, and salt in a small mixing bowl. Whisk rapidly as you pour in the oil in a slow stream. Just before you serve, toss the celery and dill with the dressing in a large mixing bowl, and then gently toss in the Asian pear and hazelnuts. Mound the salad on individual plates and serve.
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2 tablespoons fish sauce (Red Boat brand is great)
1-1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon minced jalapeno
1/2 clove garlic (minced fine or grated on a microplane)
3 king trumpet mushrooms (fairly large)
4 Asian pears (Shinko or 20th Century preferably)
1/4 cup scallions sliced on the bias
1/4 cup good extra virgin olive oil, plus more for finishing
1 tablespoon good white wine vinegar
1/4 cup picked mint leaves
1/4 cup toasted and chopped hazelnuts
Make the vinaigrette by combining the fish sauce, water, rice vinegar, sugar and minced jalapeño in a small bowl until the sugar is dissolved. Grate or mince the small amount of garlic and add to the mix. Taste for adjusting the heat level depending on the spiciness of your jalapeño. Set aside.
Cook the rice according to the package instructions and set aside to cool.
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the mushrooms in a small amount of oil and salt. Place on a small sheet pan and roast for about 15-20 minutes or until tender and browning. Set aside to cool.
Quarter and core the pears. Slice the pears fairly thin but slice the onion and scallion as thin as possible. Add to a large bowl.
Halve the mushrooms lengthwise and slice about as thin as the pear on the bias to mimic the shape of the pear slices. Add them to the bowl with the pears along with the cooked rice. Stir the vinaigrette before adding to salad and toss the salad with a good amount of the olive oil and the white wine vinegar using a large spoon. Season with salt and adjust to taste. Tear the mint leaves with your hands and add to the salad with the hazelnuts. Stir again and taste for seasoning. Adjust with oil, vinegar and salt as needed.