Pear, Apple, and Arugula Salad

What could be more predictable as the the first post of the New Year than a salad?  Don’t read too much into it; I made what I wanted to eat and what was readily available after a quick survey of the refrigerator and the fruit bowl.  There was an abundance of baby arugula after I tested a recipe for The Daily Meal last week (more about that on Monday).  Apples and pears are always in the fruit bowl during the winter months, and bacon has been on the breakfast menu here almost daily (thanks to the children’s visits).  This is a great little salad, quick to assemble and full of contrasting flavors and textures.  I left the peel on the fruit because I like the extra color it provides, and instead of tossing all the ingredients together, I plated the fruit under the greens with the bacon scattered over the top.  You could certainly replace the bacon with toasted almonds, pecans, or macadamias to make this a vegetarian-friendly dish.  So here’s to salad and lots of cooking and blogging in 2013.  Cheers!

Pear, Apple, and Arugula Salad
(serves 4 as a starter)
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4-5 slices good quality, smoky bacon
1 ripe but firm pear (Anjou is good)
1 Honey Crisp apple
4 cups baby arugula
2-3 ounces Parmesan cheese, shaved into thin shards with a vegetable peeler

Make the vinaigrette by whisking together, in a small bowl, the vinegar, honey, and lemon juice.  Season with salt and pepper, then stream in the olive oil, whisking to blend.  Set aside.  Cook the bacon slices until browned and almost crispy (you don’t want them too crunchy).  Drain on paper towels and when cool, tear into bite-size pieces.  Halve and core the fruit, cut into thin slices.  Place in a medium bowl and coat with a little of the vinaigrette.  In a separate bowl, toss the arugula and cheese shards with enough vinaigrette to coat lightly.  Divide the fruit amongst four salad plates, top each with a mound of dressed arugula, then scatter the bacon over the top to garnish.  A little extra freshly ground pepper can be added, with a drizzle more of the vinaigrette, if you like.  Serve immediately.
( minimally adapted from Epicurious)

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