This salad was the perfect accompaniment to Heather's golden beat gnocchi.
Start with fresh greens. I used red leaf lettuce, but a mixture of baby greens would also be wonderful. Take a nicely ripe pear, quarter it and remove the core. Slice the quarters as you like.
To make the dressing, combine 2-3 parts olive oil with one part balsamic vinegar. If you can, try to get some good quality stuff, it really does make a difference. I like to combine the oil and vinegar with one part soft goat cheese in a container with a lid and shake it vigorously. A lot of the cheese will emulsify, making a creamy dressing. To incorporate more of the cheese you can use a fork to mash it up and separate the clumps, then shake again.
Top salad greens with pear, dressing, and if you want to be really fancy, pecans that you've just roasted in the oven or in a pan on the stove top. You just have to be really careful not to burn them. But really, freshly roasted pecans is a transformative experience.
While I will admit that this salad is influenced by what so many restaurants are serving now, but with quality ingredients, your salad will far surpass most restaurants, at least the ones I can afford.