Toasted Hazelnut Salad With Dried Cranberries

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An utterly fabulous salad! This is a recipe I like play around with and all are wonderful, especially the one with duck cracklings, croutons, Gorgonzola and changing out 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!

DSC_5845 nx2Makes 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**
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)

In a small saucepan heat 2 tsp. EVOO over moderate heat until hot but not smoking & cook shallots, stirring, until golden brown. Stir in the cranberries, 3 Tbsp. vinegar, water, 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 & cook the toasted hazelnuts with salt & pepper to taste, stirring until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate & cool.

In a small bowl whisk together mustard & remaining tablespoon vinegar with salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste. In a stream whisk in 1 Tbsp. hazelnut oil & 2 Tbsp. EVOO (or use 3 Tbsp. EVOO instead), until emulsified.

Toss the greens in a large bowl with just enough dressing to coat & divide the greens among 6 plates. Sprinkle with the cranberry mixture & 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. And…don’t see why it would not be excellent with leftover turkey & mandarin orange sections to make a main course salad for 3 or 4 people.

**If you would like to see how to toast the hazelnuts, please go to Toasting Nuts.

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    • Glad to be of service! Don’t forgot about the variations, especially the mandarin oranges and maybe some goat cheese! Buon gusto!

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