Ellie Krieger's Green Salad With Pears, Pecans and Blue Cheese (Serves 4-6)  
This, to me, is the ideal winter salad. It offers a light, crisp counterpoint to just about anything you might be stewing or roasting, but also the depth of flavour to stand up to those hearty dishes, and seasonal notes that feel right on a chilly night. It's simple to make, which is why it is a weeknight staple in my home this time of year. The salad itself has just four ingredients, and each can be varied based on your preferences or what you have at home. I use red leaf for its autumnal hue and yielding crispness, but green leaf, kale, spinach or escarole would also work well. Then there's the fruit, cheese and nut trio of tastes and textures that make the salad so lip-smackingly good. 

For the dressing:
1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
For the salad
Leaves from 1 large head of red leaf lettuce, torn
1 large, ripe pear, peeled, cored and sliced
57g blue cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup pecan pieces, toasted 

For the dressing
Whisk together the vinegar, mustard, maple syrup, shallot, salt, pepper and oil a medium bowl until emulsified. 
For the salad
Place the lettuce in a large mixing bowl and toss with the dressing until coated. 
Divide the dressed lettuce among individual plates. 
Top each portion with slices of pear, some blue cheese crumbles and pecan pieces. 
Serve right away. 

NOTE: Toast the pecan pieces in a small, dry skillet over medium heat, stirring, until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Cool completely before using. 
Green Salad With Pears, Pecans and Blue Cheese  
Photo by Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

 Washington Post