The salad calls for herb salad mix, which can be found prebagged in the supermarket, or use any combination of lettuces and herbs. Any fresh cherry or berry (blackberries, blueberries, etc.) will do nicely. The dressing and caramelized walnuts can be made a day ahead (store the nuts in an airtight container and the dressing in the refrigerator).
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup apple cider
3 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 cups herb salad mix
2 cups berries and/or pitted sweet cherries
1/4 cup (1 ounce) blue cheese, crumbled
How to Make It
To prepare nuts, place sugar in a small skillet over medium heat; cook 90 seconds or until sugar dissolves, stirring as needed so sugar dissolves evenly and doesn't burn. Reduce heat; stir in walnuts. Cook over low heat 30 seconds or until golden. Spread mixture onto foil coated with cooking spray. Cool completely; break into small pieces.
To prepare dressing, place cider in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Cook until reduced to 2 tablespoons (about 5 minutes). Combine water and cornstarch in a small bowl; add to pan. Bring cider mixture to a boil, stirring constantly; cook 30 seconds. Remove from heat. Stir in shallots, vinegar, salt, and pepper; let cool.
To prepare salad, place salad mix in a large bowl. Drizzle with dressing; toss gently to coat. Divide evenly among 4 plates; top with berries, cheese, and walnuts. Serve immediately.
Wine note: This market salad is a kaleidoscope of bold flavors and compelling textures, from the berries to the caramelized walnuts to the crumbled blue cheese. It needs a powerhouse of a wine to match it all: Walla Walla Village Gewürztraminer 2003 (Walla Walla, Washington; $16). It's sassy with bright tropical fruit flavors (a great counterpoint to the saltiness of the cheese), a citrusy edge, and loads of spice. -Karen MacNeil
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I usually add some raisins if I don't have fresh berries. They work nicely ,I grew up on this salad, and the memories it brought up, made me take an extra spoonful after testing it to see if it tasted okay. Love this recipe....
This gets 4 stars for flavor, two for instructions on making the candied walnuts. I have some experience melting sugar, and should have heeded the inner warning that stirring the sugar (as directed) with a cold metal spoon would make the melted sugar re-crystallize into hard, unmeltable lumps. After attempting to stir in the walnuts I added a little water to re-dissolve and then let the water evaporate, stirring occasionally. It worked, but all of this took up way too much time. I did not have apple cider or juice for the dressing so I used some CL Easy Herb Vinaigrette that I had on hand, tossing it with fresh spinach and basil and topping the dressed greens with halved pitted dark cherries. I also left the walnuts whole and increased to 1/4 cup per serving for added MUFA. We ate this with a glass of wine and CL Leek and Asparagus strata muffins. This is a good salad but the candying step should involve a wooden spoon or dissolving the sugar in a little water first.