While cooking, listen to this: Stop This Train by John Mayer
You never believe it till you hit it, but being in your twenties is like free falling without a parachute. For whatever reason, when you’re a kid and a teen and even in college, you imagine you’ll have everything sorted out once you’re in your twenties. I blame TV for this, mostly. Twenty-something sitcoms are notoriously inaccurate. But they do get one thing right - something you completely neglect to appreciate until you’re chin-deep, flailing about the most confusing decade of your life thus far.
You find comfort in the oddest places.
There’s nothing like a national tragedy that hits particularly close to home to put a dent in your week. It was a bit of a subconscious dent, and I found myself searching for something to grasp onto. Friends of course, are the first place to turn. A good after-work exercise class. A round of happy hour drinks and eats. A walk around the neighborhood. A dangerously delicious bowl of ice cream. I surrounded myself with people I didn’t feel like I had to try too hard with. People who just got me.
It was almost like a little something from the past resurfaced, much like an ex who never seems to make a complete and total exit from your life. The little things we take comfort in aren’t always what we expect. But still, they’re an oddly satisfying touch to an otherwise mundane (or, in this case, disheartening) week.
Much like this salad. I’ve talked about my CSA’s over-abundance in the pear department before, and I’ve always turned my nose down on those who said “just roast the pears in butter and call it a day.” Pears, in my mind, simply aren’t enough on their own to be considered dessert - naysayers be damned. But a little mix of salty halloumi (our favorite!) and hearty toasted walnuts, and you’ve got yourself a butter-roasted pear salad.
In all honesty, you can throw any fruit at Rina and she’ll create something bomb-ass, but there’s something whole about this salad, an unexpected completeness that makes it both comforting and completely satisfying.
Like I said, you latch on to whatever you can when you don’t have a parachute. Even a pear salad.
BUTTER-ROASTED PEAR + HALLOUMI SALAD
Yield: 4 servings
Active Cook Time: 10m | Inactive Cook Time: 30m
Category: Salad, Fall, Gluten-Free
3 medium Bosc pears (they hold up well when they’re roasted)
4 Tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
1 8-ounce package halloumi, cut into 1-inch cubes
Spritz of cooking spray
¼ cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
Fresh lemon juice, to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
10 ounces arugula
⅓ cup roasted salted pistachios, roughly chopped
Oven prep: preheat to 400F and take out a baking tray that will hold all of your pear slices (9 x 13 should do).
Pear prep: slice each pear in half. Remove the stem and use a small spoon to gently scoop out the core. Cut each half in half again, so you’re left with a bunch of pear quarters.
Roast the pears: place the butter in your baking dish and stick in the oven. Once the butter is totally melted, take the dish out and carefully add the pears cut-side-down in one even layer. Roast for 15 minutes, then flip each pear. Roast for another 15 minutes, or until they’re completely pierceable with a knife and are golden brown.
Fry the halloumi: while the pears are roasting away, spray a medium sautee pan with a tiny spritz of cooking spray and place on medium-high heat. Line a large plate with some paper towel. Once the pan is ready, add the halloumi in a single layer and fry until golden brown on one side, about 3-5 minutes. Flip and do the same, about another 3 minutes or so. Place on the paper-towel-lined plate and allow to cool slightly.
Make the dressing: add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper to a jar and shake well to combine. Season to taste.
Assemble! add the arugula to a large platter or tray. Add the dressing and toss to combine. Place the pears on top, followed by the halloumi. Sprinkle with the pistachios and serve immediately.
To keep: dressed salads should be eaten pretty much immediately, but the pears and halloumi will keep in the fridge for a couple of days.