Sargent Choice Cooking
Pear salad: low on calories, high on flavor
In the video above, chef Walter Dunphy prepares pear carpaccio with baby arugula, Boston Bibb lettuce, and microgreens.
Walter Dunphy, BU’s executive chef, offers up a tasty pear carpaccio to ease the transition from heartier cool weather eating to healthy eating. Dunphy’s take on vegetarian carpaccio, which means thinly carved and served raw, is “relatively easy to put together, but it has a lot of unique and distinct tastes,” he says.
The keys to taking this recipe from boring salad to dinner staple: fresh local produce, artisan ingredients, and polished presentation. Dunphy uses Boston Bibb lettuce, microgreens, and baby arugula for a “peppery taste” to complement the pear, then tops it with pungent aged Gouda from Smith’s Farmstead in Winchendon, Mass.
“This isn’t your run-of-the-mill chain restaurant Gouda,” he says. “It gives a really dynamite little bite.”
Dunphy finishes off the dish with a drizzle of 25-year-old balsamic vinegar from the Modena region of Italy (nonpurists can achieve somewhat similar results by reducing regular balsamic by half in a pan).
Dunphy’s recipes follow healthy food guidelines established by Boston University’s Sargent Choice program, a collaboration between dietitians at Sargent College’s Nutrition & Fitness Center and chefs at BU’s Dining Services.
2 heads Boston Bibb lettuce
6 cups microgreens (whatever is fresh; collect varying colors and flavors)
4 teaspoons 25-year-old Modena balsamic vinegar (substitute with a half-reduction of regular balsamic vinegar if necessary)
2 teaspoons white truffle oil
2 ounces aged Gouda, shaved
1 lemon, juiced
6 tablespoons water
Maine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Place the juice of the lemon and the water in a nonreactive bowl. Core the pears, cut in half, and thinly slice with a very sharp knife. Lightly toss the pear slices in the bowl with the lemon-water mixture to keep the pears from oxidizing and turning brown.
Clean and dry the lettuce, discarding any discolored leaves. On chilled dinner plates, layer lettuce leaves in a fan, pushing them down as flat as possible.
Layer and fan the pears in a circle over the Bibb, leaving a nice green rim of the lettuce showing.
Place the microgreens in a separate bowl (handle the greens gingerly, as they are frail). Add truffle oil and lightly toss.
Arrange a nice bundle of greens in the center of each plate, drizzle the balsamic vinegar over the pears, and season with salt and pepper. Shave the cheese, arrange over the pears evenly, and serve.
Approximate preparation time: 10 minutes
Nutrition facts per serving:
4.5 grams total fat (2.5 grams saturated fat)
28 grams carbohydrates (9 grams fiber)
6 grams protein
170 mg sodium