Pear and Gorgonzola Salad with Candied Walnuts

This is by far my favorite salad! At my favorite Italian restaurant, Girasole, they serve a salad very similar to this one. Girasole is one of those once “every other year” date night restaurants- it’s been awhile, and I have been missing this dish, So…. I tried my hand at this salad and my taste buds and tummy are very happy…The combination of peppery greens, tart pears, rich, tangy gorgonzola, and the sweet walnuts are amazing together. I finally created a vinaigrette that stands up to the strong flavors of this salad! I’m in love!!  pear salad with gorg and candied walnuts First, I made the candied walnuts. They take a little while to set up, so I usually make a big batch that will last awhile. They are yummy to snack on and make a fantastic topping to ice cream and pumpkin pie! This sweet component is necessary in my opinion to balance out the flavors, but you can always just toss some crunchy walnuts on your salad and call it a day.  candied walnuts Melt the butter melt butterOnce the butter is melted, add brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt.  maple caramel sauce Once mixture has come to a nice bubble (takes about 2 minutes) Add walnuts…. candied walnuts 1 Allow walnuts to swim in the sugary sweet goodness for about 5-6 minutes or until the walnuts are completely covered and mixture starts to carmelize and cling to the walnuts. Place walnuts on a piece of parchment to cool….Warning! to picky fingers: sugar will be hot! Allow to cool and continue to do it’s clingy thingy for about an hour… Some people don’t like to wait- and that’s ok too!  IMG_9419[1] Next up: the dressing. I finally found the perfect combo! honey, olive oil, lemon, garlic, salt and pepper and a sprinkle of gorgonzola! yum! I love parmesan cheese in my dressings, so I thought- why not compliment the cheese in the salad and add it to the dressing as well. I love the fact that by day 2, the gorgonzola is completely infused in the dressing and it’s liquid heaven!  dressing ingredients Next, slice your pears- I know everyone has a different slice preference when it comes to salad. So do what you and your knife please!  pear and gorg Prepare your greens. This salad is best with straight up arugula, but. since I was buying lettuce for multiple meals, I used mixed greens and was very happy with the results!  pear salad with gorg and candied walnuts Can I tell you how much Glitter Girl loves this salad? I was shocked! She had two servings for dinner and then had another helping for lunch the next day! She has excellent and expensive taste!!  She had the fantastic idea to add dried cranberries to her salad!  Tomorrow she has decided to try trading fresh mango for pear- I love her creativity! final salad with cranberries We served this salad with pepperoni foccacia- which was also very good. The kids helped me put this recipe together- very easy and perfect for a weeknight meal. pepperoni foccacia Prepared biscuits acts as the Foccacia. Fresh tomato sauce, pepperoni, and two cheeses! YUM!!  No matter the season, this salad is welcome in my home!   

Pear Salad with Gorgonzola and Candied Walnuts
Serves 4
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For the salad
  1. 1 container mixed greens, washed and dried
  2. 1 container gorgonzola
  3. 2 pears, thinly sliced
  4. Candied Walnuts (recipe below)
  5. Honey Lemon Vinaigrette (recipe below)
For the Candied Walnuts
  1. 1 cup walnuts
  2. 2 tbsp butter
  3. 1 tbsp maple syrup
  4. 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  5. 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  6. pinch of salt
For the Honey Lemon Vinaigrette
  1. 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  2. 1 tsp salt
  3. 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  4. 1 tablespoon honey
  5. 1 lemon, juiced
  6. 1/4 cup olive oil
  7. 1/8 cup gorgonzola, crumbled
For the salad
  1. Layer ingredients in a salad bowl starting with lettuce, then gorgonzola, and pears. Top with candied walnuts and vinaigrette!
For the Candied Walnuts
  1. Melt butter in a saucepan, add brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt. Heat on medium- high heat until mixture is bubbly and starting to thicken. Add walnuts. Stir into sugar mixture until the nuts are thoroughly covered and the mixture starts to cling to the walnuts. Take pan off the heat. Spread the candied walnuts onto parchment paper and allow the mixture to set up. (this takes about an hour.)
For the Honey Lemon Vinaigrette
  1. Add all ingredients together in a jar and shake!! Adjust seasoning to taste!
Notes
  1. I usually make this salad serve to order. You don't want the pears and dressing to make the salad soggy. So the toppings can be to order as well. Make it your own creation!
Sweets & Whimsy http://sweetsandwhimsy.com/

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  1. Pingback: Lemon Ricotta Cake | Sweets & Whimsy

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