Whenever I have people over for a sit-down holiday dinner, I like to set the tone with a hunger-inducing salad as the first course. For my most recent dinner, I foreshadowed the Fall meal to come with a peppery medley of in-season produce.
This salad, with its salty, spicy, tangy, and sweet components, turned out to be the perfect way to get guests psyched for supper while still leaving plenty of room for the main course.
Toasted on the stove, pepitas, or hulled pumpkin seeds, impart a nutty flavor to the olive oil, which plays a crucial part in the aromatic dressing. Make this your Thanksgiving salad when you keep reading.
1/3 cup green (hulled) pumpkin seeds (pepitas; not toasted) Serves 8.
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
3 tablespoons Sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon mild honey
1 teaspoon grainy mustard
4 cups packed spicy salad greens, such as radish greens, watercress, and/or arugula, tough stems discarded
4 cups packed frisée (French curly endive), torn into bite-size pieces
1 (1/2-pound) piece Manchego cheese, rind removed and cheese shaved into 32 thin slices (preferably with a cheese plane)
8 small red or yellow Bartlett pears (preferably with stems)
1/3 cup green (hulled) pumpkin seeds (pepitas; not toasted)