Pear and spinach salad.

A part of me hesitated to share this recipe because of its simplicity. But then I thought again. Sometimes the beauty of a dish is because against all temptations, we have let the ingredients shine without getting in the way too much. Have you ever tasted a ripe heirloom tomato in July with nothing but a sprinkle of sea salt and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil? I feel a bit like Perry Mason here, but I rest my case.

For this journey, all you need is to pack up your tastebuds and away you go. I could eat this salad every day for lunch and be happy. It has all of my favorite fall flavors: pears, greens, pecans, onion, blue cheese. But more importantly, what are your favorite salad ingredients that are available this time of year? They are welcome here. You could use apple or figs instead of pear. You could also skip the cheese or use fresh goat cheese or a sharp cheddar cheese instead.

This salad is a fall staple. I suggest making it according to your own fall cravings and making it often.

Pear and spinach salad

Makes: 4-6 servings;

total time: 15 minutes

2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup sliced red onion

6 cups fresh spinach leaves

¼ cup raw pecans

¼ cup blue cheese, crumbled

2 ripe pears, sliced

Preparation: In a large bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, olive oil and a crack of salt and pepper.

Add the red onion, spinach, pecans and blue cheese. Gently toss. Transfer to a platter or plates and garnish with sliced pears. Enjoy!

Marianne Sundquist is a chef, food business consultant and shares recipes for home cooks on Instagram @chefmariannesundquist. She owns the catering business Daya, which has shifted for the time being into an online general store, sourcing and delivering pantry staples to area residents. Visit dayasantafe.square.site and email her at marianne@dayasantafe.com.

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