My inspiration for this salad was my discovery of Seckel pears. These short, rotund, pears have a dark green skin that has a bloom of burgundy on it. They're the tiniest of all pears and one of the tastiest -- so sweet that they have been called "sugar pears." They're available at most specialty and organic markets as well as many major supermarkets during the late fall and early winter seasons. In this seasonal salad, I paired them with brie, since pears have an affinity for cheese, and tossed them with spicy watercess. Very little dressing is needed since the ingredients are all so naturally flavorful. If you can't find Seckel pears, then substitute 1 large Bosc or D'anjou pear, sliced crosswise. —Food Blogga
4 small or 2 large
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
rice wine vinegar
fresh lemon juice
salt and several cranks of freshly ground black pepper
Saute shallots in 1 teaspoon olive oil for 3-5 minutes, or until softened. Remove from heat and set aside.
For the dressing, whisk remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil with vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and set aside.
To make individual salads, start by placing some watercress in the center of a plate, then add pear slices, the cooked shallots, some brie, and some dates. Top with toasted pecans and drizzle with dressing. Repeat with remaining three dishes.