A bed of curly, crunchy, slightly bitter frisée is the perfect counter to fresh pears, tangy dressy and sweet candied walnuts in this elegant first course.
It’s funny, I always think I dread January. But as it turns out, I’m sort of a big fan. It’s true, I’m a creature of habit and mildly obsessed with routine. The holidays deliver a much needed break from the norm and I truly look forward to the excitement and craziness that the season brings. But just as I need the holidays to break up my daily routine, as soon as the last bulb is tucked neatly into its box….I breathe. It’s not that I don’t love the holidays. I do. Yet part of me is always more than ready to get back to my regular life.
So once I resume my regular day-to-day (aka no more cookies for breakfast, eggnog before bed or exercise moratorium) I’m all about, well mostly about, nose to the grindstone. And for this month that meant launching my redesigned site. I was hoping that you all experience short term memory loss as I do when I said “stay tuned for changes to my website” say, three months ago. Well as it turns out, I made more than a few tweaks.
You know that thing that happens when you you’re doing a minor home renovation project say, updating a bath, and a few months later you’ve gutted your entire attic, repainted four rooms, and “refreshed” the powder room? Yeah, well…that’s what happened to this blog (oh, and that’s what actually happened to our house at the same time). So, things got a little delayed.
Factor in hosting Thanksgiving, nine thousand batches of Christmas cookies, and a teeny-tiny New Years Eve hangover…that’s what we in the food world call a recipe for disaster. Or just we in the world…
Anyhow, at some point during this process I realized that there wasn’t a reason to rush. I had self-imposed deadlines that not only no one knew about, no one cared about! And thanks to 4elbows fantastic design team, it all came together when it was supposed to…in January.
For you loyal readers (and if you’re still reading I’m guessing that’s you), I plan to stick to my normal schedule of posting on Tuesdays and Fridays. My email newsletters will now be sent out once a week (Fridays) and will link to both of my posts from that week. The goal is not to fill up your inbox, but send that little reminder when you’re ready to catch up. And aren’t we all ready for a little diversion on a Friday?
Oh, and I’m guessing you’re more than ready for the recipe by now. Well, what I have for you today is a January delight. It’s a gorgeous, sturdy salad that works both for an elegant first course or a light dinner (if you’re still sticking to those resolutions). I’m a huge fan of frisée, especially in the winter months. I love its slightly bitter bite when paired with a tangy vinaigrette and creamy cheese. I’ve topped it with cardamom-spiced, candied walnuts for the crunch and let me tell you…make extra. These walnuts are not only a great salad topping, but they’re a must on a cheese board or even in a bowl on your lap while you’re Netflix-ing.
So, are you with me? Do you see all that January has to offer? Crunchy salads, fresh website redesigns, newly renovated rooms and just maybe a girls trip to Nashville thrown in there for good measure (yeah, that happened). Just like orange is the new black, I’m thinking January is the new December. Who’s with me?
- Frisée Salad
- 8 oz frisée trimmed and torn into bite-size pieces
- 2 pears I like Anjou, peeled, cored, halved and very thinly sliced
- 4 oz goat cheese crumbled
- Candied walnuts recipe follows
- Candied Walnuts
- 8 oz walnut halves
- 1 egg white
- 2 tsp water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- Sherry Vinaigrette
- 2 Tbsp sherry vinegar
- 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Candied Walnuts: Preheat your oven to 250 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Whip the egg white and water with a whisk until frothy. Whisk in the sugar, cardamom and salt.
Add the walnuts and toss well to coat.
Spread the walnuts in an even layer on the lined baking sheet, separating slightly. Bake for 45 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven and let the nuts cool for a minute or two on the sheet. Then break apart the nuts and allow them to cool completely before serving or store them in an airtight container.
Sherry Vinaigrette: Whisk together the vinegar, dijon, sugar, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
Whisk in the oil in a steady stream until emulsified.
Salad: Toss the pears in the dressing and let sit for at least 10 mins and up to 40. Place the frisée in a large bowl and add the pears and enough dressing to coat. Toss gently.
Sprinkle with crumbled goat cheese and the candied walnuts.