pear and pickled butternut salad with goats cheese and honey pumpkin seeds

by Sam on April 22, 2013

pear, pickled butternut and goats cheese salad with honey pumpkin seeds

I was given a box of beautiful Abate Fetel pears from Tru-Cape recently along with a card with this intriguing recipe. I had never tasted nor considered pickling butternut before so immediately wanted to give it a go.

pear, pickled butternut and goats cheese salad with honey pumpkin seeds

Lately I’ve been getting into more complex salad recipes with multiple ingredients, and I liked a lot of what was going on with this one. The pears were at their perfect ripeness, but still firm and very succulent.

I also happened to have all the ingredients to make this salad apart from the goats cheese feta in the recipe. I substituted this with goats cheese, which if you have been around here before you will know I love.

I’m not generally a fan of fruit in salads, but when they are paired with salty cheese and other contrasting flavour elements, they seem to work. My pear, blue cheese and walnut salad with a maple vinaigrette remains one of the most popular recipes on this site for some strange reason. Either people love pears in salad, or its a classic combination that never goes out of fashion.

honey pumpkin seeds

So here is the recipe I tried out. * I may have made a bit more dressing and used more pumpkin seeds

Recipe:

Pickle:

  • 1 small butternut
  • 2 T sugar
  • 2 T white wine vinegar
  • 2 T water

Salad:

  • 2 Abate Fetel pears – firm but ripe – diced
  • 1/4 goats cheese feta (I used goats cheese)
  • 1 t finely diced red onion
  • 1 t finely chopped chives
  • 3 baby gem lettuce

Dressing:

  • 1 T orange juice
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 t grain mustard

Honey seeds:

  • 2 T pumkin seeds
  • 1 t honey
  • pinch of sea salt

Peel the butternut and cut into quarters length ways. Using a peeler, slice thin strips off the butternut. Lightly salt these and leave for 2o minutes.

Make a pickling liquid by mixing all the pickling ingredients together making sure the sugar dissolves. If it doesn’t dissolve, heat this on the stove in a small pot. Rinse the butternut (which would already have started to soften), and cover it in the pickle and leave this for a min of an hour.

Mix the salad dressing ingredients together.

To make the honey seeds, heat a non stick frying pan and toast for a minute or so, until they just begin to take on colour and make small popping sounds. Add the honey and move the seeds around until they are all coated. Add a pinch of salt and leave to cool.

Once you have got all the elements made, its time to assemble your salad. Quarter the gem lettuce and mix the pear, onion, chives and cheese together. Scatter this mix over the lettuce, arrange the butternut, and sprinkle on the seeds. Drizzle over the dressing.

I arrange everything separately because I am a food stylist and this is how we roll.

Two highlights of this salad were the pickled butternut which tastes so different to cooked butternut, but has the raw edge taken off, and the honey pumpkin seeds. These add a fabulous sweet and salty textural element to the dish and something I would make and use in other salads.

I didn’t like the red onion, I found it aggressive for this salad and would leave it out in the future, but this is a personal reference thing.

ts cheese salad with honey pumpkin seeds

I feel like I’m part of the Tru-Cape family because last month I worked as the stylist on their latest two TV commercials, and I had to make a table full of food featuring apples and pears. It had to be farm-like and rustic and I had so much fun doing it.

Here they are:

 

 

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

usha singh April 22, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Sam this looks wonderful –love the picture of the box of fruit at the bottom.

Maggie April 22, 2013 at 1:41 pm

I absolutely LOOOOVE pears in salad. Had spinach, pear, blue cheese, dark chocolate and pistachio salad with honey dressing before that amazing.

Sam April 22, 2013 at 2:54 pm

HI Maggie, that sounds so interesting having chocolate in a salad. Have not had that before.

Lisa the Gourmet Wog April 22, 2013 at 3:41 pm

What a beautiful brightly coloured salad! Thanks for sharing

Anne @The Cooking Campaign April 22, 2013 at 8:33 pm

What a beautiful looking salad! Can’t wait to try this!

Laura (Tutti Dolci) April 22, 2013 at 9:05 pm

Beautiful salad, I love the pear and butternut squash combo!

FashionEdible April 22, 2013 at 9:31 pm

This is a beautiful salad! I love the honey pumpkin seeds and hope to try those soon. I second your comment – I think chocolate in a salad would be super interesting to try!

Liz Thomas April 30, 2013 at 6:18 am

That sounds lovely Sam. I love pears and cheese (but NOT goat!!) — blue cheese is lovely with pears.
I am definitely going to try your pickles squash but I cannot get butternut here so will try with a young pumpkin.

How long does it last? Could I keep it say a week in it’s pickling solution?

Cheers!
Liz

Sam April 30, 2013 at 7:42 am

Hi Liz, I imagine it would keep for a good few weeks – perhaps even a few months.

Liz Thomas May 2, 2013 at 6:14 am

Hi Sam,

I did this last night with one of those round orange pumpkins — a small one but I still only used a quarter. It was delicious. A totally new taste. I ate about half of it and have the other half in an airtight box. I’m going to make it again next week for when my husband gets back.

One comment — even though I only used a very small amount of pumpkin — guessing the size of a small butternut — I found that the pickling liquid didn’t seem enough and had to shake it around a bit. For longer keeping I feel that perhaps doubling the amount of pickle liquor might help.

Now I need to try the honey pumpkin seeds!

Thanks again — I really liked it.

Cheers!
Liz

Sam May 2, 2013 at 9:05 am

I agree Liz, the liquid is too little. I will make a note in the recipe.
Thanks Sam

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