Now that it’s early March, all the pear sauce I made last Fall has been eaten. The fresh pears from my tree are long gone. All that’s left are the pieces of dried bosc pear you see in the photo. They may be last, but they certainly aren’t least. As we yearn for true Spring around here, when the spicy aroma of new pear blossoms will grace the yard (and any laundry I might be lucky enough to hang out on the line), I can still savor these sweet bits of last year’s harvest in a zesty salad dressing.
Since there’s a good chance we’ll get pelted by homeopathic-sized pills of snow when Romeo and I are out for our morning walk, it’s really nice to enjoy a dressing on my lunchtime salad that transports me to a Summer place where the sun isn’t dipping behind clouds in a way that brings on the shivers, where smooth paving stones are luxuriously warm to the touch, and the smell of lavender replaces those tiny white pills of hard snow.
This version is based on Susan’s wonderful Fat Free Balsamic-Raisin Dressing. It was born when, delighted with her post last Spring, I discovered I had no golden raisins on hand. But I had a small supply of dried pear pieces left. I wanted something that would make those dried pears sing, so I played around a bit with Susan’s basic recipe, and here’s what I came up with:
LemonyPear Dressing with Herbs de Provence
1/4 cup dried bosc pears, rehydrated in water
1/2 cup of the soaking water
1/2 cup of white balsamic vinegar
1/2 tbs of nutritional yeast
1/2 tbs of dijon mustard
1 tbs of lemon juice
1 tsp of ground golden flax seeds
1 tsp of lemon zest, or more to taste
2 tsp of Herbs de Provence, or more to taste (see note)
Put everything but the lemon zest and the herbs in the blender and blend until smooth. Add the zest and herbs and combine slightly. Or just stir them in (which I like to do). Put in a jar. Spoon over salad. Be transported to a sunny place.
Note: I make my own herbs de Provence mix from the Lorna Sass book, Short Cut Vegetarian, but you can often find it ready-made in the store. The basic mix contains 1 teaspoon of basil, and two teaspoons of tarragon, marjoram, Summer savory (I’ve used Winter just find when I couldn’t find Summer), rosemary and optional chervil (I’ve yet to try this, but am hoping some seeds I received from a neighbor will sprout this Spring. It has a kind of licorice taste.). You can dry your own pears in a slow oven (225) if you don’t own a food dryer. Make sure they are nice and ripe first.