A spinach salad, especially one with ripe fall pears, is a welcome addition to the Thanksgiving table. The salad can be served in a large bowl as part of a buffet, or on individual salad plates alongside the main course. With all the cooking you’ll be doing, save yourself some time and buy the packaged, prewashed and trimmed baby spinach. The greens stay fresh for several days in the refrigerator.
2 Bosc pears (do not peel), quartered lengthwise, cored and cut into long, thin slices
½ cup (2 ounces) coarsely grated Parmesan cheese (see Cook’s Note)
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
Place the spinach and pears in a large serving bowl. Scatter the cheese on top.
TO MAKE THE DRESSING
In a small jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt, and pepper to taste. Cover tightly and shake vigorously to blend the ingredients. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
When ready to serve, give the dressing a last-minute shake and pour over the salad. Toss gently to keep the pear slices intact, and serve immediately.
I prefer the taste of Parrnigiano-Reggiano and recommend using it for this salad. To coarsely grate the cheese, use either the coarse side of a box grater or the medium shredding disk of a food processor.