ESCAROLE MAPLE WALNUT SALAD
Crisp escarole lettuce with red grape tomatoes, cucumber and red onion. Drizzled with maple walnut Balsamic dressing. Then topped with candied walnuts!
Dressing: Makes 2-1/4 cups
3/4 c. Grade A maple syrup
1 c. walnut pieces
2/3 c. Balsamic vinegar
2/3 c. corn oil
1 t. salt
1 t. onion powder
Combine all dressing ingredients in blender container. Blend on low then high speed till very creamy. Transfer to covered container and refrigerator till ready to use.
1/2 stick margarine
1/4 c. dark brown sugar
1/4 c. water
1/8 t. baking soda
2 c. walnut halves
approx. 3 T. white sugar
Combine margarine, brown sugar and water in large skillet. Stir over medium heat till margarine and sugar melt.
Bring to boil, stirring continuously till the water evaporates and liquid becomes a syrup. Liquid should be bubbling rapidly.
When syrup drips slowly from the spoon, as well as separates from the skillet, remove skillet from burner. Do not let the syrup gum up.
Immediately add 1/8 t. baking soda and stir well till syrup foams up.
Add the 2 cups of walnut halves all at once, stirring quickly to coat all walnuts. Don’t allow the walnuts to clump up either.
Sprinkle white sugar over walnuts and again stir quickly to coat evenly with the sugar. Because it’s off the heat, the sugar won’t melt.
Transfer to paper towels in an even layer and let set at room temperature till cool.
1 head escarole, washed, dried and crisped, torn into bite-sized pieces
1 English (seedless) cucumber, unpeeled, washed; remove ends and slice thinly
1 pt. red grape tomatoes
1/2 peeled red onion cut in half; cut the half in half again from end to end, then slice crosswise into very thin quarter rings
On individual salad plates, mound escarole.
Drizzle with a little dressing. Top with cucumber, tomatoes and onion, then drizzle with more dressing.
Top each salad with a few candied walnuts. Sprinkle each with cracked pepper and serve.
Notes: If syrup gums up while making the syrup for the candied walnuts, add a little water and start the boiling and reduction process over.
Escarole makes a great salad green. It holds up well and keeps longer in your lettuce crisper than lettuce.
I used two different size walnuts: walnut pieces for the dressing, and walnut halves for the candies.