4 servings

Every restaurant around the world has a green salad on its menu, and each restaurant has its own version of this simple salad. Our version is a bit more complex, and serves as a perfect addition to a summer mezze meal, with a glass of beer or a well chilled wine or with margarita.

We serve this salad with caciotta, a semi-hard Tuscan style cheese made of sheep's milk, with a soft texture and delicate flavor, which becomes more pronounced as the cheese ages.

1 head iceberg (round) lettuce

1 head cos (Arab) lettuce

For the pears

8 pears

4 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup white wine

1/2 cup water

A pinch of salt

1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper

4 sage leaves

25g butter

For the sauce vinaigrette

1/4 cup sherry vinegar

1 tbsp honey

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice


1/2 cup olive oil

To serve

500g mixed baby leaves

50g caciotta cheese (see above)

4 tbsp blanched and sliced almonds, roasted


Separate the leaves from the lettuce heads and rinse well. Leave to dry on a kitchen towel.

The pears: Peel the pears, halve them and remove the cores. In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, lemon juice, wine, water, salt, pepper, sage leaves and butter and bring to the boil. Add the pears and arrange them in the pan in one layer. Cook over a low heat for 10 minutes, until the pears soften, but do not become mushy. Remove from the heat and cool.

The sauce: Whisk the sauce ingredients in a bowl.

To serve: Tear the lettuce leaves to bite-sized pieces with your hands, and transfer to a large bowl. Add the baby leaves.  Cut each half pear to 4 slices and add to the bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of the pears' cooking liquid and the sauce, and stir lightly,

Transfer the salad into a serving dish. Sprinkle with shavings of the cheese (use a potato peeler to peel the shavings) and with the almonds, and serve.