Combining sweet figs, crispy, delicate nashi, peppery rocket and salty prosciutto is undeniably mouth watering. Easy, no-cook Asian pear salad with delicious, sophisticated flavours.
Why You’ll Love Nashi Pear Salad
My mother-in-law told us this year was an excellent year for her nashi pear tree – it was jammed-packed with fruit. So when it was time to harvest the nashi pear tree, we had to head over to help.
With a bucket full of sweet nashi pears in the house, it was imperative to include it in a salad, so I went with the classic pairing of pears, figs and prosciutto.
The flavour combination is sweet, salty and peppery all rolled into one. Delicious, sophisticated salad that will be great for entertaining or just a lazy dinner with a glass of wine.
What is Nashi Pear?
What looks more like an apple than a pear, nashi is native to East Asia but now grown in many different countries.
Also known as Asian pear, nashi, have two main types: the Akanashi group with a more yellowish-brown skin and Aonashi, which have green skin. Both have a creamy white flesh.
Nashi are harvested during the cooler Autumn months and best between March – October in Australia.
As the fruit can be quite large and previously with a higher price tag, nashi was traditionally given as a gift as a sign of prosperity or shared amongst the family at gatherings. We love it as a family – cut and eat fresh as an after-dinner sweet.
Difference Between Asian And European Pears
European pears like William Bartlett, Bosc or Anjou pears are the pears we typically think of. They are smooth-skinned fruit with more of a bell shape with a heavy bottom.
We love European pears for its natural sweetness and juicy, soft flesh when ripe. European pears are generally harvested before they are ready to eat and left to ripen off the tree.
Asian pears like nashi are generally more round like apples and are entirely different in texture and taste. Nashi pear has a more honey sweetness with lots of juice and a crisp texture. And because they have a high water content, nashi is not commonly used in baking or jams like European pears.
However, you can lightly grill them but best to consume raw and fresh in salads. Another distinct difference is that Asian pears do not ripen after picking from the tree, so it is vital to find the right time to harvest the pears.
How Do You Know When Figs Are Ripe?
Like pears, figs are best during the cooler Autumn months. A versatile fruit, figs can also be eaten fresh, stewed, roasted or preserved. Of course, I love fig in salads.
Fig and prosciutto are great together. The sweetness of the figs acts as a counterpoint to the savoury prosciutto. And if you love prosciutto, you should try our other easy prosciutto recipes.
So how do you know when figs are ripe? By touch. A ripe fig will be soft to touch when gently squeezed. Unripe figs are firm and do not give when pressed.
And don’t even entertain the fact you can pick the figs from the tree before they are ripe because, like Asian pears, they do not ripen on the counter, no matter how long you wait.
Flavours/Textures: Combining sweet honey figs, delicate nashi, peppery rocket and salty prosciutto and shaved parmesan is undeniably mouthwatering.
I love how the savoury flavours of prosciutto and parmesan is mixed with the sweet fruit. With the added crispness of nashi pear and fresh rocket, together the textures are satisfying.
Ease: I love this pear salad because it was so quick to whip up. Simple to prepare with no cooking involved. One of my favourite easy prosciutto recipes.
Time: It takes 15 minutes to create this salad—a few slicing motions and layering together simple ingredients.
Figs: When choosing figs in salad, look for plump fruit and preferably unmarked skin, but it is ok to have some small wrinkles or slight imperfections. They are a delicate fruit, so do handle carefully. Best to store figs in the fridge if you aren’t planning to eat straight away.
Nashi pear: There are both green and brown varieties of nashi pear. Both are fine to use in this recipe. Both are deliciously sweet, juicy and crisp. Brown nashi pears have a more distinct flavour while green nashi pears are more delicate.
Prosciutto: Do ask for thinly shaved prosciutto when buying at the local deli as you want to be able to layer them delicately throughout the salad without creating lumps of meat.
Rocket leaves: We like to make sure our salads are perfectly balanced in taste and texture. Adding rocket leaves does this perfectly. Slightly peppery, rocket leaves gives this easy prosciutto salad a good kick.
Parmesan: Wrapped tightly in plastic, you can store a block of hard cheese like parmesan in the fridge for around 6 weeks.
Pomegranate molasses: Made from pomegranate juice reduction, you can buy pomegranate molasses at your local supermarket or Middle Eastern grocer.
The tangy, intensely flavoured syrup is delicious with this salad to counterbalance the sweetness of figs and pears and saltiness of prosciutto.
Extra virgin olive oil: As this salad recipe does not have a dressing, it is important to use a good quality extra virgin olive oil. You want to taste the fruity aroma and peppery flavour that a good quality bottle will allow.
Salt and pepper: to taste
How to Prepare the Salad
This is a simple, no-cook fig and prosciutto salad. Prepare when you are ready to serve.
Give figs a gentle wash and wipe dry with a paper towel. Figs are a delicate fruit when ripe, so be careful not to bruise too much when cutting.
Using a sharp knife, cut the figs into quarters. Set aside for assembly.
Nashi pears do not turn brown quickly like European pears and apples. Therefore, they are great in salads, and there is no need to add in salted water to stop oxidation.
Cut nashi pear in half and remove the core. Slice nashi pear in thin slices. Set aside for assembly.
Wash rocket leaves and give it a shake to remove excess water.
How to Assemble the Salad
On a serving platter, layer with rocket leaves.
Then take 4 slices of prosciutto and scatter across the platter in various spots.
Scatter half of nashi pear slices and cut figs in between the prosciutto.
Using a peeler, shave parmesan across the platter.
Repeat the process with prosciutto, nashi pear and figs. Then finish with more shaved parmesan.
Drizzle pomegranate molasses, extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Variations and Substitutions
Other pears: If you can not find nashi pear, you can substitute with William Bartlett pears. Choose crisp and firm pears for this salad.
Vegetarian: To create a vegetarian version of the nashi pear salad, omit prosciutto from the recipe. The other ingredients would still work nicely as a delicious salad. I feel parmesan cheese would be able to hold up the salty component of the salad.
Great Main Dishes for This Salad
Spatchcock Chicken Recipe: A simple but flavourful spatchcock roast chicken. Juicy, easy, and delicious! Serve up the fig and prosciutto salad as a starter or right alongside this main affair.
Cauliflower Crust Pizza: Let’s make this a Mediterranean feast! This grain free and paleo friendly pizza recipe would perfectly complement a delicious fig and prosciutto salad.
Lamb Chops with Spicy Apricot Sauce: This recipe is more impressive, delicious, and easier than you think! The spicy apricot sauce is addictive, super-simple, and pairs beautifully with the sweet and salty flavours of the figs, Parmesan & prosciutto in the salad.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can easily prepare and assemble this salad at your destination. If there is limited time or space, prepare ahead and transport on the platter covered in wrap. Drizzle pomegranate molasses and extra virgin olive oil when you need to serve.
You can make this salad during the day and store in the fridge. Nashi does not brown as quickly as western pears. However, as this salad only takes 15 minutes to create, you can easily whip up closer to time.
Figs are not always available and when they are in season, best to eat them fast. So what to do when you have more figs than you need for this salad recipe?
Try our other fig recipes, including Vegan Wild Rice Salad or Honey Fig Salad with Mango Puree. And if you are looking for something a little more decadent, try our Balsamic Roasted Fig with Halloumi Salad. You can easily make a double batch of the balsamic roasted figs and eat with a good tub of vanilla ice cream!
Next time you are looking for a relaxing dinner to enjoy with a glass of wine, I totally recommend this nashi pear salad. The sweet and savoury flavours compliment each other so well. Plus there is no cooking involved. How good is that?
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Nashi Pear Salad with Fig and Prosciutto
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- Give figs a gentle wash and wipe dry with a paper towel.Using a sharp knife, cut the figs into quarters. Set aside for assembly.
- Cut nashi pear in half and remove the core. Slice nashi pear in thin slices. Set aside for assembly.
- Wash rocket leaves and give it a shake to remove excess water.
- Layer with rocket leaves on a salad platter
- Then take 4 slices of prosciutto and scatter across the platter in various spots.
- Scatter half of nashi pear slices and cut figs in between the prosciutto.
- Using a peeler, shave parmesan across the platter.
- Repeat the process with prosciutto, nashi pear and figs. Then finish with more shaved parmesan.
- Drizzle pomegranate molasses, extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- You can substitute nashi pear with William Bartlett pears. Choose crisp and firm pears.
- For a vegetarian version, omit prosciutto. Parmesan cheese would act as the salty component.
- Can prepare ahead of time and transport on platter.
*Disclaimer: Nutritional information provided is an estimate only and generated by an online calculator.
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