Pork and pear salad with pecans

    35 min

    This is a simple yet substantial salad of new potatoes, crunchy red and white radishes, peppery watercress and juicy pears, topped with slices of roast pork and finished with a scattering of toasted pecan nuts. The dressing is delicately flavoured with ginger juice, squeezed from fresh root ginger.

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    Serves: 4 

    • 55 g (2 oz) pecan nuts
    • 900 g (2 lb) even-sized new potatoes, scrubbed
    • 1 small mooli (Japanese white radish), about 170 g (6 oz), peeled and thinly sliced
    • 115 g (4 oz) red radishes, cut into quarters
    • 2 ripe but firm dessert pears
    • 1 Oak Leaf lettuce, separated into leaves
    • 100 g (3½ oz) watercress, tough stalks discarded
    • 340 g (12 oz) roast pork loin, fat removed and thinly sliced
    • Mustard and ginger dressing
    • 30 g (1 oz) fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
    • 2 tsp wholegrain mustard
    • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
    • 1 tbsp groundnut oil
    • 1 tbsp hazelnut oil
    • salt and pepper

    Prep:35min  ›  Ready in:35min 

    1. Heat a frying pan and toast the pecan nuts over a moderate heat for 6–7 minutes. Cool, then chop roughly. Set aside.
    2. Cook the potatoes in a saucepan of boiling water for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain. When cool enough to handle, cut into quarters and place in a mixing bowl.
    3. To make the dressing, first put the ginger in a garlic crusher and press to squeeze out the juice (this will have to be done in 3 or 4 batches). You need 2 tsp of this ginger juice. Put the ginger juice, mustard, vinegar, groundnut and hazelnut oils, and seasoning to taste, in a screwtop jar. Shake well to mix. Pour about a third of the dressing over the warm potatoes and toss gently to coat. Leave to cool.
    4. Meanwhile, in another bowl, toss the mooli and red radishes with half of the remaining dressing, to prevent them from browning. Halve the pears lengthways and scoop out the cores, then cut into long wedges. Toss with the mooli and radishes.
    5. Arrange the lettuce leaves and watercress in a shallow salad bowl. Add the mooli mixture to the potatoes and gently mix together. Pile onto the middle of the salad leaves, and arrange the pork slices on top.
    6. Stir the toasted pecans into the remaining dressing and drizzle over the top of the salad. Serve immediately.

    Some more ideas

    Instead of pears, use other fresh fruit such as 2 peaches or 4 apricots, or 30 g (1 oz) chopped ready-to-eat dried apricots soaked in a little orange or apple juice to soften them. * For a pork and apple salad with hazelnuts, replace the pears with red-skinned dessert apples. Instead of mooli and red radishes, cut 150 g (5½ oz) each celeriac and carrots into 5 cm (2 in) long matchstick strips. Finish with toasted hazelnuts instead of pecans.

    Plus points

    Pork provides many B vitamins – excellent amounts of B12 and good amounts of B1 and B6 – and it is a good source of zinc. * Radishes offer useful amounts of fibre and vitamin C and, in common with other members of the cruciferous family, they contain phytochemicals that may help to protect against cancer. Most of the enzymes responsible for the hot taste are found in the skin – if you find the taste overpowering, peeling will help to reduce the heat.

    Each serving provides

    Excellent source of folate, niacin, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, zinc. Good source of copper, potassium, selenium, vitamin B2. Useful source of calcium, iron, vitamin A.

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