Cool late-autumn weather is ideal for arugula, which coincides nicely with pears and fresh cranberries. But this salad works equally well in late winter or early spring, when greenhouse arugula is starting to become available. I also like to mix the arugula with frissee, young escarole, or other hearty salad greens. Put these ingredients together in this composed salad, dressed with a maple-sweetened vinaigrette, for a dish that is also art on a plate.

Recipe courtesy of The New Heirloom Garden, copyright © 2021 by Ellen Ecker Ogden. Photography copyright © 2021 by Matthew Benson. Published by Rodale Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

Serves 4

  • 4 medium heirloom pears, preferably Bosc, cored and sliced lengthwise
  • 1⁄2 cup fresh cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 1⁄2 cup shelled walnuts
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 6 cups arugula or mixed salad greens
  • 1⁄4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F.

2. In a medium bowl, toss the pears and cranberries with the sugar and butter. Arrange the pears and cranberries in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake, turning once, until the pears are barely tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

3. Lightly toast the walnuts in a dry skillet over medium heat until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

4. In a large salad bowl, prepare the dressing by whisking together the oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper to taste, mustard, and maple syrup. Add the arugula and toss to coat.

5. Divide the arugula among four chilled plates. Arrange one-fourth of the pears in a fan around the center of each plate and evenly sprinkle the cranberries, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and toasted nuts on top.