Caramelized Leek Salad with Pear, Cheese, and Toasted Walnuts 

Farmer John’s Cookbook, by Peterson

                                                           

½ c. walnut halves

Freshly ground black pepper

1 T. unsalted butter

1 ½ T. balsamic vinegar

5 T. extra virgin olive oil, divided

2 pears, cored, sliced (you may toss with lemon juice to keep from turning brown)

2 large leeks, white and green parts only, sliced (about 3 c.)

4 ounces cheese, crumbled or thinly sliced (chevre, fresh pecorino, parmesan, fontina, or smoked gouda work well)

4 c. mixed salad greens

 

¼ tsp. salt

 

 

Toast the walnuts in a dry, heavy skillet (preferable cast iron) over high heat until they start to brown in spots and become fragrant.  Be careful not to overtoast them, as they will burn very quickly once toasted.)  Immediately transfer the nuts to a dish to cool.  Chop the nuts.

           

Heat the butter and 1 T. of the oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat.  Add the leeks; cook, stirring occasionally, until they are a deep golden color, about 45 minutes.  Drain and cool.

           

In a large bowl, toss the salad greens with the salt and pepper to taste.  Add the balsamic vinegar and toss; add the remaining olive oil and toss again.  Divide the greens among four plates; sprinkle with the caramelized leeks and toasted walnuts.  Arrange the pear slices on the leeks.  Sprinkle with cheese.