Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fall Fruit Salad with Carmelized Walnuts

Well fall is upon us and the more "summery" fruits are no longer in season so to appreciate the fruits of this season and the fall harvest. Why not make a fall salad?  I looked online and I couldn't find one good salad that I liked... some had cheeses in it or yogurts which to me don't speak of the crisp fall air so I decided to make my own recipe!

Fall Fruit Salad

1 large, Granny Smith Apple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 large, ripe, Asian Pear, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes (if Asian Pears are not available locally try Bosc Pears, which will not have the same flavor/texture combo, but will still lend well to the salad)
1 Cup Seedless Grapes, cut in half
1/4 Cup Walnuts, Caramelized (optional, recipe follows)
1/4 Cup Dried Cranberries
1/8 Cup Dried Apricots, cut into 1/8” strips
1 tsp Lemon Juice
zest of 1/2 lemon
2 Tbsp White Grape Juice

  1. Core and slice the apples and pears, sprinkling them with lemon juice so they do not discolor. 
  2. Add the grapes and lemon zest, and sprinkle with the grape juice
  3. Place the walnuts on a cookie sheet and toast in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove, let cool, and roughly chop. (To caramelize walnuts use the recipe following this one)
  4. In a large bowl, toss together all the ingredients. Serve plain or on a bed of romaine lettuce or mixed greens.

Variations would include: red onions, celery, mandarin oranges... all of which are seasonal and would be delicious additions.

Caramelized Walnuts

1/4 cup walnuts
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp walnut oil or extra-virgin olive oil

  1. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Toast nuts in a small shallow baking pan until fragrant and a few shades darker, about 5 minutes.
  3. While nuts toast, in a small bowl, stir together sugar, salt and walnut/olive oil. Toss in toasted nuts.
  4. In a small skillet over moderate heat, add walnuts and sugar mixture and cook, stirring regularly, until sugar caramelizes (melts like caramel) and coats nuts, about 5 minutes.
  5. Transfer nuts to a piece of parchment paper and cool. Break walnuts apart.

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