August 18, 2008

Green Salad with Manchego, Apples, and Caramelized Walnuts

Meg, Epicurious

This salad was a winner from Apple Weekend a few years ago. When I have made it since for fewer people, I often halve the amounts, as these are supposed to serve 6 - 8.

1/2 C balsamic vinegar

1/2 C walnut oil
3 T champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar

8 C arugula or other greens
2 red delicious or fuji apples, unpeeled, cored, thinly sliced
6 oz. Spanish manchego cheese or sharp cheddar, shaved (I've always used cheddar)
1 1/2 C pitted dates, sliced
1 C caramelized walnuts (recipe to follow)
4 large shallots, minced

Boil balsamic vinegar in small saucepan over medium-high heat until syrupy and reduced to 1/4 C, about 4 minutes.

Whisk oil and champagne vinegar in a bowl. Season with s & p.

Toss arugula, apples, half of cheese, dates, walnuts, and shallots in large bowl with enough vinaigrette to coat. Season salad with s & p.

Mound salad in center of each plate. Drizzle balsamic syrup around salads. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.

Caramelized Walnuts

nonstick spray
1/2 C sugar
2 T balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 C walnuts

Preheat oven to 325. Line heavy rimmed baking sheet with foil. Spray foil with nonstick spray. Combine sugar and vinegar in small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Add nuts; toss to coat. Transfer mixture to baking sheet.

Bake until nuts are deep brown and syrup thickens and coats nuts, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Cool completely on baking sheet. Break nuts apart. Store airtight at room temperature.

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