Winter is drawing to a close and I decided it was high time to come up with a new cold weather salad. This is a salad that looks and tastes like winter. It's almost enough to make me stop longing for tomatoes and basil. Almost.

This salad features three classic winter ingredients: pears, pecans and maple syrup. The cheddar and Boston lettuce complement them beautifully.

Like these photos? I should mention that I won this set of five hand-carved bowls from Theresa over at Food Hunter's Guide. Doesn't this beautiful salad highlight their magnificent wood grain?

Winter Salad
Substitute crumbled goat cheese for the cheddar if you like. 

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon maple syrup
juice and zest of half a lemon
salt and pepper to taste

1 head Boston or butter lettuce
1 pear, chopped or cut in wedges
a handful of toasted pecans (or use candied pecans if you have any handy; I always do)
2 oz. orange cheddar cheese, cut in cubes

First, prepare the dressing. Combine all the ingredients and mix well with a fork.

Combine the lettuce and pears in a large bowl. Toss with the dressing. Serve the salad into individual salad bowls and then garnish with pecans and cheese cubes.

Serve immediately.

Linking this up to Weekend Bloggy Reading!