Normally I’d have a lot to say about a salad as beautiful as this. I’d talk about the perfect balance of sweet and tart, tender and crisp. A feast for the eyes as well as the palate. Autumn on a plate. Something old, something new, something borrowed, some cheese blue. And so on. However, I’ve waited until the last minute (once again) to iron and sew on Girl Scout uniform insignia for a meeting tomorrow, and there are way too many dishes piled up in the sink for me to expound upon this lovely salad at the present time. So I’ll be brief: Honeycrisp apples + candied walnuts + blue cheese + lettuce + vinaigrette = a delicious and satisfying fall salad. If only the new “Everyday Mathematics” were this simple! (Partial sums and column addition, anyone?)
Harvest Salad with Apple, Blue Cheese & Maple-Glazed Walnuts
Serves 6-8 (Use less lettuce for fewer servings; unused nuts and vinaigrette will keep up to a week in the refrigerator. Bring vinaigrette to room temperature before tossing salad.)
- 2 cups walnut halves
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 Tablespoon minced shallot
- 3 Tablespoons sherry vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup olive oil
- 6-8 large handfuls of washed greens: green leaf lettuce, baby spinach or mesculin/baby greens mix
- ½ (or more) Honeycrisp or Gala apple, thinly sliced (see quick method below for coring & slicing apples)
- ¼ – ½ cup crumbled blue cheese (i.e., Maytag)
- Sherry vinaigrette (as much as needed to lightly coat greens)
- Glazed walnuts (as a guide, approx. 1/4 cup or less per serving)
Make Glazed Walnuts:
Heat oven to 425ºF. Add walnuts and maple syrup to a large measuring cup or small mixing bowl. Stir until nuts are fully coated.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Dump coated nuts onto baking sheet and use mixing spoon to spread out and separate nuts.
Bake 10-12 minutes, then allow to cool fully before removing candied nuts from baking sheet. (If syrup is still sticky/chewy after cooling, return to oven and bake a few more minutes. )
Add everything but the olive oil to a small bowl or immersion blender beaker. Stir or blend to combine. Slowly whisk in or blend the olive oil until all incorporated. Taste for seasoning; add more salt, a pinch of sugar, or a little more olive oil if necessary.
Add greens, apple slices, blue cheese and walnuts to a large salad bowl. When ready to serve, toss with desired amount of vinaigrette, so leaves are lightly coated but not swimming in dressing (there may be extra left over).
Try this method for quickly coring and slicing apples:
Cut four sides off the apple, leaving a square core. Then slice each side section to desired thickness.