The chef took us out for dinner tonight, and the restaurant offered Spinach Salad with Pear, Stilton and Candied Walnuts, which a couple of us ordered, and really enjoyed. I’ve Googled to find a recipe, but nothing appears that looks exactly the same.
With a bit experimenting, we created this variation, which is just as good as the one we had at the restaurant. The chili powder in the candied walnuts adds just a touch of heat, and cuts through the sweetness, so be sure to add it.
For an easier version, you can try Tossed Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing
Spinach Salad with Pear, Stilton and Candied Walnuts
- 2 tbsp white-wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp Dijon-style mustard
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 6 cup baby spinach, rinsed and spun dry
- 1 large red Bartlett pear
- 2 oz Stilton crumbled (about 1/2 cup)
- 1/2 cup candied walnuts
Note: If you can’t find ripe pears, substitute a good quality canned pear, packed in juice. Instead of candied walnuts, you could use candied pecans or dried cranberries.
- In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, the mustard, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the oil in a stream, whisking, and whisk the dressing until it is emulsified.
- In a bowl toss the spinach with half the dressing and divide the salad among 4 plates.
- Halve and core the pear and cut it lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
- Arrange one fourth of the pear slices decoratively on each plate.
- Divide the Stilton and the pecans among the salads, and drizzle the remaining dressing on top.
Note: Instead of walnuts, you could use pecans. They taste great too! After they cool, you can wrap in cellophane, for a delicious hostess gift.
- Nonstick vegetable oil spray
- 1 cup walnuts (about 3 1/2 ounces)
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1-1/2 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- pinch of chili powder
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Spray baking sheet with nonstick spray.
- Combine walnuts and all remaining ingredients in medium bowl; mix well.
- Spread nut mixture on prepared baking sheet.
- Bake about 15 minutes, until nuts are deep golden and sugar mixture is bubbling, stirring occasionally to break up clumps.
- Cool completely on baking sheet. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Store in airtight container.)