Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Romaine, Gorgonzola, and Walnut Salad

My mom and I took a cooking class a couple weeks ago at Williams-Sonoma, which I highly recommend, and we learned how to make this salad during the class.  We both loved the salad so much, we decided I would definitely be making this for Easter.  It is different enough to make you excited to eat a salad, rather than the same boring toppings.  One thing the instructor specified was to make sure you get a good Gorgonzola cheese.  I got the Gorgonzola dolcelatte at Whole Foods, and it was perfect.  It was rich, but certainly not overpowering.  Also, when you wash the lettuce, make sure you dry it best you can to make sure the dressing sticks.  Enjoy!

For the walnut vinaigrette:
7 Tbs walnut oil
2 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs aged balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs sherry vinegar
Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 cup walnuts, preferably halves
3 heads romaine lettuce, leaves separated and torn into bite-size pieces
1 cup red or black seedless grapes, halved (optional)
2 small pears, quartered, cored, and thinly sliced (optional)
1/2 to 2/3 lb Gorgonzola dolcelatte cheese, at room temperature, broken into bite-size pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To make walnut vinaigrette, in a bowl, whisk together the walnut and olive oils, balsamic and sherry vinegars, and salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and place in the oven.  Toast, stirring occasionally, until lightly brown and fragrant, 8-10 minutes.  Remove from the oven.  Transfer to a small bowl, add 3 Tbs of the vinaigrette, toss lightly, and let stand for 15 minutes before assembling the salad.

Place the torn romaine in a large bowl.  Add the marinated walnuts and drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette.  Toss well.  Divide among individual plates, and top withe the grapes, pears, and cheese.

Serves 6.  

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