I have a pretty big family, and we get together often for birthday parties and holidays. I am always interested in what new dishes will appear for potluck. Thanksgiving certainly never disappoints. A couple Thanksgivings ago I found inspiration for a new summer salad (go figure!). With some simple modifications it is undoubtedly a new staple of quick bring-along dishes.
When we get together, we always end up with the same couple of dishes. Wisconsinites will know what I'm talking about: cheesy hash browns, a familiar pasta salad, chips and onion dip. If you've scanned the ingredients list, you can see that this isn't another ordinary summer salad. Home-caramelized pecans and a sweet, tangy vinaigrette already make for a brag-worthy dish to pass. But that's just the beginning!
A base of fresh spring greens supports a surprising mix of favorite seasonal ingredients. Creamy avocado and blue cheese crumbles give bright contrast to the juicy pear and watermelon. Sharp bites of green onion (usually plentiful at summer farmers' markets) are the perfect flavor to round out the palette.
As a side note, we sourced our rich and creamy blue cheese from Salemville, a local Wisconsin company. We even did a pancake video for them back in February which they featured on their Facebook page!
The avocado and pears should be purchased a day or two early and allowed to ripen. But to get the freshest watermelon, cut and use it the day you buy it. You will be able to tell if the watermelon is ripe by looking for a yellow or butter-colored ground spot.
The colorful presentation of this salad will have your guests oozing with curiosity and lining up fork-in-hand to experience some culinary excitement!
If you haven't eaten all of your watermelon, this fresh Watermelon Lemon Balm Limeade is the perfect drink for summer parties!
Avocado, Pear, and Watermelon Salad
- Large Serving Bowl
- 1 cup Pecans
- 1/2 cup White Sugar
- 1/2 whole Watermelon balled
- 3 stalks Green Onion chopped
- 2 whole Pear sliced
- 1/3 cup Blue Cheese crumbled
- 1 whole Avocado cubed
- 6 cups Spring Mix Lettuce
- 1/2 cup vinaigrette Dressing
- 1/3 cup Olive Oil
- 3 Tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar
- 1 1/2 tsp. White Sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp. Prepared Mustard
- 1 clove Garlic chopped
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- Fresh Ground Black Pepper to taste
- In a skillet over medium heat, stir 1/2 cup of sugar together with the pecans. Continue stirring gently until sugar has melted and caramelized the pecans. Then carefully transfer nuts onto waxed paper. Allow to cool, and break into pieces.
- For the dressing, blend oil, vinegar, 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, mustard, chopped garlic, salt, and pepper.
- In a large serving bowl, first layer lettuce, pears, blue cheese, avocado, and green onions. Pour dressing over salad, sprinkle with pecans, and serve.