Since it will soon be The Day of gluttony where pies and their fattening counterparts get the spotlight, today’s post will feature a menu item less inspired by Santa’s portly figure and more oriented towards a pre-holiday stocking up on nutrition. Salads really don’t get enough credit for taste and its probably due to the fact that most often, a house salad at a restaurant is made up of several large chunks of iceberg lettuce sailing on a river of ranch dressing with a few shreds of dried out cheddar cheese floating along beside them. Now I’m not saying I don’t enjoy an occasional dunk in the proverbial Ranch River but generally, it’s just as easy to make a healthier and better tasting salad as it is to throw together a sub par one.
Dewey’s Pizza has a really delicious salad that I get every time I go called a Candied Walnut and Grape Salad. I don’t know how they make their dressing unfortunately but sometimes I try to replicate the salad. The recipe below is just what I use, but substitutions are always fun.
- mixed baby greens
- Gorgonzola cheese (a rather fattening cheese, I know. Just use a tablespoon or so)
- halved purple grapes (you can use green ones but purple and red grapes are sweeter and pair well with the tartness of the Gorgonzola)
- candied walnuts (recipe below)
The recipe I use is Laura Werlin’s and I think it’s magnificent:
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 4 ounces walnuts (about one heaping cup; don’t use pieces)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium sized bowl, mix together the sugar, cayenne and salt.
Bring a small saucepan of water to boil. Add the walnuts and blanch them for 3 minutes. Drain well and then immediately roll the walnuts in the sugar mixture until thoroughly coated. The sugar will melt slightly. Transfer the walnuts to a baking sheet or pan and bake, stirring occasionally, until they are a deep golden brown, about 10 minutes. Watch carefully because the sugar can burn easily. Let cool completely before serving.
1 tablespoon apple butter
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (or white wine vinegar if you don’t have red)
Whisk the apple butter and vinegar together and as your doing that, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. I think I used a few tablespoons but a taste test every few seconds would be your best bet. If you don’t have apple butter, jelly or jam is a decent substitute.