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AHHHHH. This recipe is always a hit around my house! I have been making this salad for a long, long time but forgot about it until this fall. I’ve had my fill of Caesar salads and light tomato garden lettuce salads from the summer, so the combination of slightly buttery, sweet pecans, slivers of seasonal Washington apples and crumbles of sharp bleu cheese spoke to me.
I have recreated this wonderful little salad using feta cheese in place of bleu cheese, walnuts in lieu of pecans and even sliced grapes or ripe plums can be swapped for the apples. So don’t be afraid to make this according to your palate.
As for me, this is my longtime fave. I love bleu cheese (it is an acquired taste I am told) and I find this a perfect accompaniment to any savory main dish. And I always make a lot more dressing than I need for one meal — because the dressing keeps for a few weeks and I just know I’ll be making this salad several times within that time frame (often every other night!).
Autumn Apple Arugula Salad
Serves 6 generously
Candied Nuts Ingredients
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon cold salted butter
- 2 pinches of sea salt
- 1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped (I reserve ¼ cup once cooked to top the salad when serving)
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons walnut oil (keep this in the fridge so it does not become rancid)
- ½ teaspoon honey
- 1 Braeburn or Pink lady or any red tart apple, cut into thin slices
- Juice of half a lemon
- 10 grinds of fresh black pepper
- 8 cups greens (I use arugula or a combination of arugula and baby spinach – or any type of soft lettuce is wonderful)
- 3 ounces Roquefort or bleu cheese, crumbled
Instructions for Candying Nuts
In a small fry pan, sprinkle the sugar on the bottom of your pan and cook gently over medium-high heat without stirring. Shake the pan occasionally. Once the sugar is melted and light brown, stir in the butter and a pinch of salt. Stir in the pecans and cook until the caramel turns dark brown. Quickly remove the nuts to a small plate to cool. Keep moving them around the plate after a few minutes so they don’t stick together, and store them in a jar in the fridge. Here too I always make more than necessary!
Instructions for the Dressing
In a small jar or squeeze bottle add the vinegar, mustard, honey, a pinch of salt and oils. Shake vigorously until combined — taste and add more honey to smooth the taste if you like it a little sweeter like me.
Instructions for Assembling the Salad
Place the apple slices in a small cereal bowl, toss with lemon juice (I did lime one time) and season with ground pepper.
Combine the greens in a large bowl. Toss with just enough dressing to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Add the walnuts, apples and crumbled Roquefort and mix well. Sprinkle the reserved nuts over the top of each salad plate once it is dressed.