Apple Salad with Gorgonzola, Bacon and Candied Walnuts
This is a simple salad made festive with the addition of the candied walnuts, and after multiple attempts and various approaches I'm happy to say that this recipe for candied nuts is my all-time favorite. There's no oil or butter added, as in a lot of candied nuts recipes, and no need for cooking a sugar syrup to a certain temperature. And the best thing is that the results are very satisfying: these nuts bring an authoritative crunch without being thickly coated with candy.
This salad makes a nice light starter or side for a festive holiday meal, or for a simple lunch with friends. The calories (131 per serving) and carbs (12 g) are reasonable considering the luxurious feel of the apple / Gorgonzola / candied walnuts combination, and the maple syrup / lime dressing – inspired by the maple vinaigrette at Clay Hill Farm in Ogunquit, Maine – adds an additional touch of class.
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 cups lettuce, washed and dried
- 1 apple, washed, cored and cut in thin crescents
- 3 strips lean bacon, cooked until crisp, drained, crumbled
- 3 thin slices sweet white onion, cut in half
- 1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
- 6 tablespoons candied walnuts (recipe below)
1. Place maple syrup, oil, lime juice and salt in a small bowl. Whisk to combine and set aside.
2. To serve, arrange lettuce on the salad plates and add the apple slices in a decorative fan arrangement. Scatter on crumbled bacon and the onion strips, then the crumbled cheese and the candied walnuts. Drizzle with dressing or serve it on the side.
Makes around 1 cup.
- 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar)
- 1/8 tsp salt
- Pinch cayenne pepper, ground
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup shelled walnuts or other nuts, chopped or whole (about 4 ounces)
1. Preheat the oven to 350º and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
2. Mix the sugar, salt and cayenne and place in a plastic food storage bag.
3. Bring the water to a boil and add the nuts. Boil 3 minutes.
4. Drain the nuts and, working quickly, place them in the bag with the sugar mixture. Holding the bag closed, shake to coat the nuts with the sugar mixture.
5. Spread the coated nuts on the prepared baking sheet and bake 18 - 22 minutes, until dark golden brown.
6. Remove from oven and separate nuts with forks as necessary. Allow to cool completely on the sheet.
Nuts can be prepared a day or two in advance. When thoroughly cooled, store in an airtight container.