Bosc Pear Salad with Dried Currants and Toasted Hazelnuts

It’s hard to tell a cheesemonger to not put cheese on everything. Especially salads.

Vertical top-down image of a white bowl with a tossed fruit and greens salad, with text on the top and bottom of the image.

Imagine a crunchy kale salad with garlic breadcrumbs without sharp, salty grated pecorino sprinkled delicately on top. Or a peach caprese salad without thick slices of fresh, creamy, milky mozzarella cheese. Or a grilled chicken salad without those tangy crumbles of feta cheese.

Sad! Tragic! Hopeless!

I got my mother on the cheese train, too. She’s become even more obsessed than I am, to the point where she yelled at me for not having blue cheese crumbles in my refrigerator 24/7, so that she could put it on her meals whenever she would visit.

Vertical image of a white bowl with arugula and sliced fresh fruit.

“And you, a cheesemonger?! To not have any blue cheese in the house?!”

But cheese doesn’t have to go on every salad. Even cheesemongers (and their mothers) can try to practice some self-discipline now and then.

Some.

In many recipes, the fresh ingredients speak for themselves, without the need of any additional dairy component to augment the flavors.

Vertical top-down image of sliced fruit on top of greens in a white bowl.

Not convinced, fellow lovers of cheese?

An autumnal salad with bosc pears, dried currents, toasted hazelnuts, and a lemony vinaigrette is all the proof you’ll need. Combined with peppery arugula, it’s a fresh recipe with entertaining flavors and textures.

Vertical close-up image of sliced fruit on top of arugula with chopped nuts and dried currants.

Resolutely simple on purpose, the dish is as elegant as it is minimal. It has no cheese to surround itself with, and no heavy, mayo-laden dressing to hid behind.

That’s why having the best ingredients, and the perfect prep, is crucial. This is when it’s absolutely necessary to use sweet, perfectly ripe pears. Wee have all the tricks of the trade to ripen your pears until they juicy and succulent!

Vertical top-down image of two bowls with fresh fruit, nuts, dried currants and greens.

Even your mom won’t miss the cheese.

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Horizontal image of a white bowl with arugula and pears

Bosc Pear Salad with Dried Currants and Toasted Hazelnuts


  • Author: Nikki Cervone
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x

Description

In need of a simple, yet flavorful, salad? Make a fresh arugula salad with pears, dried currents, hazelnuts, and a lemon vinaigrette.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup whole raw hazelnuts
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups lightly packed arugula
  • 2 Bosc pears
  • 1/3 cup dried currants
  • Coarse salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

Instructions

For the Hazelnuts:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Place whole hazelnuts on an unlined baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from oven, and cool completely. Place hazelnuts on top of a clean kitchen towel. Fold the towel over the nuts, and vigorously rub to remove most of the skin off the hazelnuts.
  4. Roughly chop the hazelnuts, using a cutting board and knife or a food processor.

For the Salad:

  1. Whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil in a small bowl to make the dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add more oil or lemon juice as desired.
  2. Immediately before serving, thinly slice the bosc pears. Combine all ingredients with the dressing in a large salad bowl, and toss well.
  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve right away.

  • Category: Fruit
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Salad

Keywords: bosc pear, arugula, hazelnut, currant

Cooking by the Numbers…

Step 1 – Toast the Hazelnuts

Horizontal image of whole hazelnuts on a baking sheet.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Place whole hazelnuts on an unlined baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes, until aromatic. The will turn slightly darker.

Remove from the oven, and cool completely.

Horizontal image of partially skinned hazelnuts on a towel.

Because the skin tends to be slightly bitter, you can remove the skin by placing the hazelnuts on top of a clean kitchen towel. Fold the towel over the nuts, and vigorously rub to remove most of the skin off the hazelnuts. It’s completely fine if you can’t remove some of the skin – it’s still edible!

Horizontal image of chopped hazelnuts in a white bowl surrounded by fresh fruit.

Roughly chop the hazelnuts, using a cutting board and knife or a food processor.

Step 2 – Make the Dressing

Horizontal image of a bowl with lemon vinaigrette surrounded by a whisk, nuts, pears, and lemons.

Whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil in a small bowl to make the dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Need a little lemon or oil? Add more as desired!

Step 3 – Slice the Fruit

Horizontal image of whole and sliced pears on a brown plate.

Immediately before serving, thinly slice the bosc pears. The slices turn brown if sliced too early before serving, so it’s best to wait until right before serving to slice and assemble.

Step 4 – Combine

Horizontal image of piles of sliced fruit, dried currants, chopped hazelnuts, and arugula in a white bowl.

Combine all ingredients with the dressing in a large salad bowl, and toss well.

Horizontal image of a pear and greens salad.

Season to taste with more salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Ditch the Cheese. You Won’t Miss It.

Blasphemous words, I know. But you’ll agree with me as soon as you try this salad.

Toss together ripe pears, lightly toasted hazelnuts, and tart dried currents with arugula in a lemony vinaigrette – an effortless gathering of fresh ingredients prepared with minimal, yet essential, culinary techniques.

Horizontal image of a white bowl with arugula and pears

The pears need to be ripened to sweet perfection. The hazelnuts should be lightly toasted, without burning. The arugula should be fresh and vibrant. The vinaigrette with bright lemons should be whisked to a homogenous, almost creamy, state, with a precious pinch of cracked salt and pepper.

Cheese? Um, what cheese?

Where do you stand with your salads? Cheese, or no cheese? Do you like the simplicity of this dish? What would you do differently? I’d love to get all of your ideas – please leave me a comment below.

For more simple and fresh salads perfect for the fall season, try the following:

Photos by Nikki Cervone, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Shanna Mallon on November 23, 2013. Last updated: October 16, 2019 at 18:56 pm.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

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About Nikki Cervone

Nikki Cervone is a hungry foodie living in Pittsburgh. Nikki holds an AAS in baking/pastry from Westmoreland County Community College, a BA in Communications from Duquesne University, and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University. When she is not tearing through her city's best cheesesteaks, Nikki enjoys a healthy dose of yoga and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.

35 thoughts on “Bosc Pear Salad with Dried Currants and Toasted Hazelnuts”

  1. Love the sound of the salad and the clash between our expectations for a magazine life and our real life can be so so true, although on almost any day I prefer my totally non-magazine life to a shiny and polished and likely boring magazine life 😉 As for the hard bits in life, they are hard to embrace (and can be crushing) but they do help us appreciate the small things in life that are so easily overlooked, they help us get to know ourselves, they stretch us and make us grow and ultimately make us us. So while I could have certainly done away with a few of the hard bits in my life, ultimately, they play their part in who I am today (and hopefully the knowledge of having come out the other end will help me deal with any future hard bits life will no doubt throw my way at some point!) and for that I am glad I had to go through them.

  2. Thanks for this fresh perspective on gratefulness (and delicious looking salad!) as we go into this Thanksgiving week. Hope you and Tim have a wonderful celebration with family and friends!

  3. Oh what an interesting perspective, love this way at looking at this season which can be both so joyful and so difficult. Lovely looking salad too.

    • Reading this comment makes me think that I imagine anywhere you go would become a more joyful place from your presence, K, and I mean that — thank you for your regular encouragement.

  4. This Thanksgiving will definitely be a year of practicing imperfection for my family! We’re having Thanksgiving at my parents’ house (and have family staying there), and as of today they are still doing construction in their house. Hopefully it will be done in time! (Nothing like telling your guests “don’t touch the paint on that wall because it might still be wet” I guess.) But it is good to remember that things are not always perfect, and that is ok.

    • “Practicing imperfection” — I love that phrase, maybe because we do a lot of it around here, too… : ) Happy Thanksgiving, Erin!

  5. beautiful salad! This is exactly what I want to need and just not what I feel like cooking. But I need this one! Also, the blog design, it looks so sharp and gorgeous. Love it, you guys. Enjoy the holiday. xoxo

  6. I needed to hear this this morning. Thank you. I’ve been feeling like I am beginning to hate the holidays and all the attendant stress. This is a much better way of looking at things, and I’m going to try.

    • Oh, I’m so glad to hear that, Jann. You’re not alone, as the comments here reveal, and it encourages me to think about that. Thanks for your comment!

  7. True to your writing, I’ve already got a long list of things to make this Thursday, but I’d really love for this salad to be at the table as well. It may be a great relief for the day after though!

    • I love day-after-Thanksgiving eats almost more than the day-of, if only because they tend to be lighter. : ) PS Jacqui! We made your brown butter oatmeal cookies the day before leaving town and loved them!

  8. You said the truth powerfully and so beautifully. I needed to read this as I walk into a thanksgiving where I’m not encouraged to cook where every year it’s “let’s just keep things simple.” But I don’t want it simple! 🙂 of course that’s so small in all the things I have to be thankful for.
    Thanks for this post.

    • Your comment encouraged me so much this morning, A. And can I just say that, for the record, if you were in my family, I would gladly let you plan the meal and make it as un-simple as you like!! Love to you and your family this Thanksgiving week, my friend.

  9. Hey shanna, loved those words. Holiday season is hard sometimes, in my case because traveling back to Asia would require a lot of money and a lot of holiday leave. And being away from family and friends makes me feel homesick instead of fully enjoying holiday season, but i’m thankful for the “family” and friends I’ve made here; I’m thankful for being able to appreciate the little things that I might have skipped past had I stayed in Singapore instead of moving to Argentina, and for that, i give thanks!

    Happy thanksgiving dear friend.

    felicia

    • F – Being away from family at the holidays is definitely hard. Big hugs to you! Based on your sweet spirit and attitude, I know you’ll be surrounded by loving friends who fill you up. Wishing that for you now and all year. Happy Thanksgiving! -s

  10. Shanna, I cannot tell you how much I relate to this post… It was there when I really needed to read it. Thank you. A very happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones. Ever so grateful for your voice.

    • Helene, I cannot tell you how much I always appreciate your extremely kind comments. Thank YOU. A very blessed, happy Thanksgiving to you, too, my dear.

    • Alexis, We bought a bulk container of them at Whole Foods! If you have one of those near you, it’s a good bet. Crossing my fingers for you!

  11. Shanna, as I lie here unable to sleep. I find myself thankful for stumbling into this post as opposed to all the other options on your site. The holiday was indeed an overwhelming time where I continually found myself wanting to edit all the clips I didn’t like through out the day. In a desperate attempt to create my magazine holiday. Thanks for the reminder that I’m not in control. I’m finishing this weekend with a new perspective.

    • Oh, Charles, I hate those nights when it’s hard to sleep because my mind is going. The worst! I definitely relate to what you said about the holiday and expectations, and man, I need that reminder that I’m not in control more than anybody. Thanks for encouraging us with your comment — Happy Thanksgiving!

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