An fabulous salad! This is a recipe I like play around with and all are wonderful, especially a version with duck cracklings, croutons, Gorgonzola and changing out the dried sour cherries for the cranberries in the dressing! The key is the dressing! Don’t fret if you don’t have hazelnut oil, use 3 tablespoons EVOO and 1 tablespoon vinegar, it will be great!
Makes 6 Side Salad Servings
3 Tbsp. EVO (set aside 2 Tbsp. for the dressing)
2 large shallots, chopped fine
½ cup dried cranberries
4 Tbsp. Sherry vinegar (set aside 1 Tbsp. for the dressing)
3 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. sugar
½ cup hazelnuts, toasted lightly (see below)
½ tsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. hazelnut oil or EVOO
3 cups butter lettuce
2 cups frisee` lettuce
2 cups baby spinach
(or 7 cups mixed greens including some spinach)
In a small saucepan heat 2 tsp. EVOO over moderate heat until hot but not smoking and cook shallots, stirring, until golden brown. Stir in the cranberries, 3 Tbsp. vinegar, water and sugar, simmer, stirring occasionally, until syrupy, about 4 minutes. Transfer mixture to a bowl, cool to room temperature.
In a small skillet heat 1 tsp. EVOO over moderate heat until hot but not smoking and cook the toasted hazelnuts with salt and pepper to taste, stirring until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate and cool.
In a small bowl whisk together mustard, remaining tablespoon vinegar with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. In a stream whisk in 1 Tbsp. hazelnut oil and 2 Tbsp. EVOO (or use 3 Tbsp. EVOO instead), until emulsified.
Toss the greens in a large bowl with just enough dressing to coat and divide the greens among 6 plates. Sprinkle with the cranberry mixture and hazelnuts.
Variations: I have added crumbled Gorgonzola or bleu cheese to the salad too! During the holidays I like to add fresh mandarin orange sections. I don’t see why it would not be excellent with leftover turkey and mandarin orange sections to make a main course salad for 3 or 4 people.
Helpful link to Toasting Nuts.