Honey-roasted pear and walnut salad

Honey-roasted pear and walnut salad

New Middle Eastern Food
Mark Roper

A bit of fancy presentation turns this perfumed salad into an elegant starter. It is also a lovely light accompaniment to many earthy vegetable dishes and risottos.


Quantity Ingredient
3 ripe pears
2 1/2 tablespoons mild-flavoured honey
3 cardamom pods, seeds removed
1 tablespoon orange-flower water
3 teaspoons dry sherry
25g butter
120ml extra-virgin olive oil
100g walnuts
2 x 250g packets cypriot haloumi, sliced 3 mm thick
100g plain flour, for dusting
60ml olive oil
2 lemons, juiced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 purple onion, finely sliced
1 bunch flowering watercress, leaves picked
1 cup frisee lettuce
1/2 cup black basil leaves
sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper


  1. Halve the pears (or quarter them if they are quite large), and cut out the cores. In a small pot, warm the honey, cardamom seeds, orange-flower water and sherry.
  2. In a heavy frying pan, melt together the butter and 2 tablespoons of the extra-virgin olive oil until bubbling, then sear the pears for 1 minute on each side. Add the honey mixture and sauté for a further 2 minutes until it is a warm caramel colour.
  3. To roast the walnuts, place them in a very hot oven for 5 minutes. Rub away some of the papery brown skin in a tea towel and cut them into quarters.
  4. To grill the haloumi, dust the slices in flour. Heat the 60 ml olive oil in a frying pan over a high heat and cook the cheese slices until they are golden brown. Turn them and cook the other side until coloured. Pour half the lemon juice over the cheese and sprinkle with the thyme leaves.
  5. Rinse the onion slices under cold running water for 5 minutes to reduce their sharpness.
  6. In a large bowl gently mix the pears and haloumi with the watercress leaves, frisée lettuce, basil, onion and two-thirds of the walnuts. In a separate bowl, gently whisk together the remaining olive oil and lemon juice and season with the salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad and gently toss to combine.
  7. To serve as a starter, divide the salad into 6 portions. Set a 5 cm x 5 cm length of PVC tubing on a plate and carefully layer in a portion of salad. Carefully lift away the tubing and repeat with the remaining 5 serves. Garnish with the remaining walnuts and serve straight away.
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