as the days get warmer, here in the great northwest, and summer seems like a real possibility instead of a made up season, i become a salad fanatic. but as you can probably gleam, if you’ve been following my blog at all, a handful of chopped romaine and some cucumbers just won’t cut it. lettuce has gone “haute couture” in the last few years. it’s like the “little black dress” of the salad begging for some delicious accessories. there are so many varieties and micro greens and baby lettuces to choose from that you can make quite a statement with your salad. and this salad does just that. it can be served as a wonderful lunch or as a starter to a great summer meal. i encourage you to search out interesting greens at your local farmer’s market and to experiment with flavors and textures. give it a toss!
micro greens with orange vinaigrette, blue cheese and candied walnuts
makes 4 servings
1/2 lb micro greens*, washed and dried
1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled (i like point reyes or maytag)
1 cup walnuts
1/4 cup simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water, bring to a low boil just until the sugar dissolves)
for the vinaigrette:
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon orange liqueur
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
preheat oven to 375 degrees. toss the walnuts together with the simple syrup and spread, in a single layer, on a non-stick baking sheet. bake until the sugar has dried out and the walnuts are crunchy. this will take about 15 minutes. don’t go too far though… nuts can burn fast. with a spatula, toss the walnuts on the baking sheet and allow to cool. to make the vinaigrette, combine the orange juice, orange liqueur, dijon and salt and pepper in a bowl. while whisking, slowly stream in the olive oil until the dressing is emulsified. combine the greens, candied walnuts and blue cheese in a large bowl and toss with the vinaigrette right before serving. divide onto 4 salad plates and enjoy.
you can make the candied walnuts ahead of time if you wish. once they are cool, store them in an airtight container in your cupboard. they keep for about 2 weeks and they make a great little snack as well. i often put them out with cheese and olives when i have friends over for cocktails. the dressing can also be made ahead and stored in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. just give it a good shake each time you use it.
*micro greens are readily available at your local farmer’s market and can sometimes be found at trader joe’s and whole foods. i used organic pea shoots for this salad.
I love candied walnuts!! especially in a salad adds a nice crunch…great recipe!!