This salad first met my mouth when I was in college working as a waitress at a resort in Scottsdale, Arizona. The ingredients are so versatile: they can easily be substituted for other nuts/berries/fruits/and cheeses. Yet, I still come back again and again for this combination, in particular, to experience the phenomenal coupling of this sweet and salty salad.
Here’s how to whip it up:
- spring mix salad
- sliced pears
- blue cheese crumbles (Roquefort preferred)
- high-quality balsamic vinegar
- Maple-covered walnuts
- Kosher salt/ground pepper
I’m positive that the original recipe for this salad dressed the walnuts with a sugar-based sauce. Because I try to stay away from refined sugar altogether (at least in my cooking), I prepare the walnuts first by toasting them for a few minutes in a small sautee pan with nothing in it. I then pour in just enough high-grade maple syrup so that all of the walnuts end up glazed in the resulting gooey deliciousness. The syrup–within a few minutes–will bubble down and reduce, so that all that remains are your sticky-maple-covered nuggets to adorn your salad with. It’s quick and easy with a prep time of less than 10 minutes.