Monday, November 7, 2011

Candied Walnut Salad with Honey Red Wine Vinaigrette

 I had a few heads of romaine lettuce that were thinking about going bad soon, so I set out on a quest for a new salad recipe to use them up before they spoiled.  I found this yummy healthy salad and it did not disappoint.  I LOVE apples in salads, and candied nuts...I mean really, can you go wrong?!  The dressing for this salad was amazing, and I can see myself having it in my refrigerator ALL THE TIME to dress any salad.  I forgot to add the cheese to the pic above...forgive me!  

Candied Walnut Salad
From:  Our Best Bites

2 heads of leafy greens; 1 can be a bag of spinach 
3/4 c. Craisins
2 crisp apples
Orange juice (enough to toss apples in to prevent browning and add a little flavor)
2 oz. blue cheese or Gorgonzola (or even feta is good)
1/2 c. chopped walnuts (I used some pecans I had around)
1/4 c. sugar
Honey Red Wine Vinaigrette (recipe below)

Wash and chop lettuce. Set aside to drain.
Anyway, to candy the nuts, combine walnuts and sugar in a medium skillet over medium heat. Stir constantly. After a few minutes, the sugar will look very fine and then a few minutes after that, it will start to liquefy. This is when you have to be absolutely vigilant about scraping the bottom of the skillet and making sure everything gets stirred around. The syrup will begin to darken and will coat the nuts. When they reach a golden brown color, remove from heat. Stir occasionally as the nuts begin to cool. After a few minutes, spread candied nuts onto a greased piece of parchment or wax paper or a greased cookie sheet and allow to cool completely. Set aside.

Chop blue cheese or Gorgonzola very finely. You want crumbles, not chunks.

Chop apples and toss in orange juice.

When ready to serve, toss lettuce, cranberries, walnuts, apples, and blue cheese in a large bowl. Add dressing if desired; it really is better all mixed together rather than on top, but the dressing will wilt any leftovers.

Honey Red Wine Vinaigrette
From:  Our Best Bites

1/2 c. red wine vinegar
1/2 c. honey
1-2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped (really, that’s pretty optional; it all goes in the blender)
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 c. canola oil

In a blender, combine vinegar, honey, garlic, salt, and pepper. Place lid on blender and blend on high. While blender is running, add oil in a steady stream. Store in refrigerator for about 2-3 weeks. Shake well before serving.

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