This dish is perfect for when you want a satisfying dinner but don't want to dirty a whole lot of pots and pans to get there. It's easy to prepare and has intense, warming flavors that are well suited to the season.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar and mustard. Slowly whisk in 1/2 cup of the oil. Stir in the shallot and thyme and season with salt and pepper to taste. Put the arugula in a large bowl. Core the pear and cut it into matchsticks.
Put the flour in a pie pan or large plate. Season the pork liberally with salt and pepper and dredge in the flour. Set a heavy 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 3 Tbs. oil and the butter. When the butter melts and begins to lightly brown, cook the pork (in batches if necessary), flipping after 2 min., until it’s just cooked through, about 3 min. total. Transfer to a large plate. Repeat with the remaining pork.
Discard any fat in the skillet and set over low heat. Add the balsamic-Dijon vinaigrette and cook, stirring to pick up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan, until the sauce is warm, about 1 min. Pour the vinaigrette back into its bowl and whisk to recombine. Toss the arugula with half of the warm vinaigrette. Arrange the arugula on 4 plates. Top with the pork, pear, blue cheese, and dried cherries, and drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette.
The salad needs nothing more than crusty Italian bread to make a complete meal. For a not-too-sweet seasonal dessert, try a Polenta-Olive Oil Cake with Red Grapes.
nutrition information (per serving):
based on four servings;
Photo: Scott Phillips