Thursday, October 7, 2010

C'est Gourmet

Ever wanted to get fancy with your salad? Running low on ingredients for salads to take to work, I toyed with the idea of caramelizing something or other. Thanks to, I stumbled upon the idea of making something snazzy with the bag of walnuts I had stashed in the pantry. I combined a few recipes ("Eggs on Sunday" gave me the idea + dressing recipe, "David Lebovitz" told me to use cinnamon, and "Pinch My Salt" inspired me to throw in some rosemary) artfully, and voila! My own personal au natural candy, plus as an added bonus of the gourmet dressing that one of the recipes posted alongside it.



Pomegranate or strawberries or apples.... ($0.50)
Fresh Spinach ($1.99)
Feta cheese, goat would work too ($2.99)

For the Walnuts:
2 cups walnuts (I had these on hand, but I'd estimate about $3-4)
Fresh rosemary (From my mom's garden, but you could probably get some for $1-2)
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp water
Cinnamon or cayenne (optional)

For the Dressing:
Fresh basil - 1 tbsp chopped (from my "garden," but you can buy a bunch for $1)
1 orange ($0.40)
1 tsp dijon mustard
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

The Grand Total: I mostly used ingredients that I had lying around, but I'd estimate about $11.88 if you have to buy the spices, cheese and such


Caramelized Rosemary Walnuts
Chop up the rosemary. Place the walnuts in a saucepan with the sugar, rosemary, and a teaspoon or so of water. Add a dash of cayenne or cinnamon (I used cinnamon and recommend it, although I forgot to add a little salt too.)

Cook over medium heat until the sugar melts and the walnuts are getting toasted, mixing occasionally so the nuts don't burn, for about 5 minutes.

As soon as the walnuts are coated in amber sugar syrup, turn them out onto the piece of tinfoil. The recipe recommends parchment paper, but I used tinfoil instead because parchment is expensive.

Use your spatula to try to tease them apart from the clumps they will have formed. They’ll be easier to separate once they’ve cooled down. When they’re cool enough to handle, you can break apart any clumps of walnuts.

Orange Basil Vinagrette
Whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl or measuring cup. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.

Makes about 3/4 cup.

The Big Picture

Toss spinach, pomegranate and feta or goat cheese into your bowl. Pop in the walnuts and drizzle the dressing. Chow down.

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