Eggplant, Pear, and Pecorino Salad

Mike is gone a lot during the school year. While part of me is ecstatic with all the extra “me time,” another part of me is sad that we spend so much time apart.
For example, this past Saturday, he had to coach a night football game. He left to head to school around noon. He did not return home until eight o’clock! I love to spend my weekends with Mike, shenanniganing around, laughing, lounging, and watching movies. I can give up time during the weekdays but, the weekends are harder.
Now while you want to say, “Womp, womp” or play sad music while reading that above statement, don’t cue up the band just yet.
I don’t like to fixate on missing him, so the ecstatic part of me that loves alone time made plans with Stephie for a little late lunch and afternoon of fun. Then, later in the evening, I pulled an eggplant out of the fridge and made a gorgeous fancy meal for one. Well, it was actually more like a salad for six.
I sat at the dinner table with a beautifully plated salad and ate it directly off the serving platter with a good glass of cheap Trader Joe’s red wine. By the time I finished all the evidence of the fancy salad, Mike came in the door to some homemade chicken tenders I had whipped up for him because I am such a good wife! Then we went back to our normal weekend routines… Falling asleep on opposite couches by ten p.m. to the glare of the tv.
Ingredients (Serves 4-6)
1/3 Cup Walnuts
1 Medium Eggplant, peeled and sliced lengthwise 1/4 inch thick
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Pinch of Salt and Pepper
1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
2 Bosc Pears—peeled, cored and sliced lengthwise 1/4 inch thick
1 Tablespoon Brandy
1 Garlic Clove, minced
1 ½ Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Chopped Parsley
1 Tablespoon Chopped Chives
1 Tablespoon Honey
Thin shavings of Pecorino Romano Cheese
In a small pan over medium/low heat, toast the walnuts for about 5 minutes until lightly browned. Let cool, and then coarsely chop.
Light a grill or preheat a grill pan until hot. Brush the eggplant slices with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the eggplant over medium/high heat until the skin is tender, about 4 minutes per side.
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the pear slices and cook just until soft, 3 minutes. Add the brandy and quickly toss the pears to coat them. Remove the pears from the heat.
To make the dressing; in a small bowl, whisk 3 remaining tablespoons of oil with the garlic, vinegar, 1 tablespoon of the parsley and half a tablespoon of the chives. Season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper. Set to the side while you arrange the salad.
Arrange the eggplant slices on a large platter and drizzle with the vinaigrette. Arrange the pear slices on top of the eggplant and drizzle lightly with the honey. Scatter the walnuts, cheese and the remaining parsley and chives over the top. Serve.
Note: This is unfortunately not very good as leftovers the next day.
Recipe Adapted from Food and Wine

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  • MaryLou Rupp
    September 17, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    I learned to make a pear and pecorino salad in a cooking class served over arugula. I don’t remember a dressing for sure bit I believe it was lemon and olive oil. Pears are also wonderful served with shaved Parmesan cheese. Yum yum.

  • Laura
    September 16, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    I love this food and wine recipe! Made it when it came on the news stand.. A definite must make!

  • Maggie @ Kitchie Coo
    September 11, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    This is so gorgeous! What great photography and what an amazing mix of flavor combinations. Yum yum! I hear you about the hubs being gone a lot during the school year. My hubs is a grad student and spends a large amount of his evenings studying and I miss him!! Good for you for taking advantage of the situation though and doing something fun!

    • Stefanie
      September 11, 2012 at 6:27 pm

      Maggie, thank you for such a lovely compliment. Mike went through grad school too and I totally hear ya about dealing with those late nights!

  • Stephie @ Eat Your Heart Out
    September 10, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    You so faaaancy!

    I think I came home and made a grilled cheese. Womp womp.

  • Karla @ Foodologie
    September 10, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    Wow this looks amazing! I might try this tonight. I don’t have a grill though. Do you think it would still be tasty if I cook the eggplant in a pan?

    • Stefanie
      September 10, 2012 at 4:48 pm

      Yes, definitely! You might have to cook it a few minutes longer to make sure the skin of the eggplant isn’t too tough.

  • DB-The Foodie Stuntman
    September 10, 2012 at 9:43 am

    Was that cheap glass of red wine from Trader Joe’s from the Charles Shaw Winery? (Otherwise known as Two-Buck Chuck…)

    • Stefanie
      September 10, 2012 at 4:03 pm

      You know it!

  • Kristen @ The Balanced Bowl
    September 9, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    Wow Stephanie that platter looks like something served at a fancy restaurant!!! Very nice! Looks super delish too…you should be so proud. I would be! 🙂

    • Stefanie
      September 10, 2012 at 4:03 pm

      Thanks so much Kristen!!!