Spinach pear salad with Meyer lemon vinaigrette is a festive and easy salad to chase away the rainy day blues. I’ll admit that even though I really love rain, there are some days when I miss the sun just a little bit. Meyer lemons always cheer me up – there is something about their sunny color and floral smell that promises that summer is just around the corner.
I love salads. I try to eat them with my lunch every day when I can, especially in the winter time when I just find myself craving greens, whether its lettuce or spinach or kale. I think some of my near obsessiveness with vegetables comes from the two years I lived in Majuro in the Marshall Islands when I was in my late twenties. I was there to teach at the College of the Marshall Islands, and while I loved the experience, sometimes finding local fresh food could be incredibly challenging. The Marshalls are coral reef islands, and as such, there is limited top soil, which makes it tough to grow things like lettuce. Most of the food to Majuro is shipped in in great big container ships that would only dock every other week. To get things like salad greens or onions, you had to be at the store at just the right time, or otherwise crews from the purse seiners (large fishing boats) would buy out the entire stock of vegetables and fruits. In my second year there, there was an increased focus on local foods – local tomatoes, eggplants, pumpkins, and so on, but even then, quantities were limited. As you can imagine, I ate a lot of fish while I lived there and while it was abundant and tasty, I often longed for just a large green salad. I remember, particularly, one time that a friend of a friend brought raspberries with her from another island (the island had a significant American military presence and she was able to get the raspberries from a source there). Those raspberries were the most precious dessert I’ve ever eaten.
So, salads with all sorts of various ingredients, locally sourced, make me tremendously happy. Since I’ve moved to the PNW, I’ve gotten much more adventurous about pairing salad greens with fruits. This particular salad is a simple combination of spinach, pears, and walnuts, topped off with a tangy Meyer lemon vinaigrette. Since this is Meyer lemon season, now’s the time to add Meyer lemons to everything that you can.
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped shallots
- Juice from 1/2 Meyer lemon
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fennel fronds or parsley
- Pinch salt
- Pinch pepper
- 4 cups spinach
- 1 ripe pear
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- Combine all the ingredients for the Meyer lemon vinaigrette in a small jar. Tighten the lid and shake vigorously.
- Combine the spinach, pears and walnuts. Drizzle with the vinaigrette. Enjoy!
- Serves 4