At most restaurants, I first check out the salad selections. I enjoy fresh green lettuce mixed with nuts and fruit. Above is pictured a salad I ordered up in Los Olivos, CA at a popular lunch stop called Panino. Of course, I had to ask that the gorgonzola cheese be left out. Honestly, though, I missed the taste and creamy richness of cheese in this salad to balance the sweetness of the cranberries and pears. Twice now I've been priveledged to homemade candied pecans in a salad with pears and cranberries at parties and decided to make my own. How hard could it be? However, what could I substitute for the rich cheese?
Last week I featured an almond "cheese" made by Lisanatti Foods in my risotto, so I cubed the remainder of this garlic herb flavor alternative to cheese into my salad. I put in red grapes and discovered how incredibly easy it is to candy walnuts too. Truly a delicious combination. Quick, make this fabulous summer salad before we refer to this week as last summer!
Super easy! Throw a cup or two of walnuts or pecans into a skillet. Add a half cup of sugar. Cook at high heat until sugar melts, stirring constantly. When the sugar and nuts start to brown, turn off the heat and continue stirring while pan is hot. They will burn if you cook them too long, so watch them carefully and use your nose to sniff any burning smell! Cool and toss into your salads.