Autumn Salad with Apples, Pomegranate and Candied Walnuts

Wolfgang Puck's Autumn Salad with Apples, Pomegranate and Candied Walnuts is a perfect recipe for fall. It's also gluten-free, low carb and vegetarian

Say the word "salad" and most people will think you're talking about a dish meant for springtime or summer -- times of year when the warm weather makes mixtures of light, fresh vegetables or fruits perfect foods to eat.

But that doesn't mean you can't also enjoy salads when the weather gets colder. Now is a perfect time for making and eating hearty salads that feature autumn's more robust produce, salads that will sustain and satisfy you as the weather grows colder.

Just think of all the wonderful salad leaves you can find in farmers' markets right now. Though many of them are available throughout the year, some seem ideally suited to the season. There's crisp, juicy ivory-and-pale-green spears of Belgian endive, with a refreshing flavor contrasted by just a hint of bitterness; and curly endive, also called by the French name frisee, with a more delicate texture and slightly more noticeable but still mild bitterness. And don't forget purple-red radicchio leaves, more bracingly bitter; peppery sprigs of watercress; and some of the more tender, mild salad leaves such as butter or Bibb lettuce.

Some of my favorite ingredients to add to autumn salads are seasonal fruits. Crisp apples (such as Granny Smith, Cortland, Fuji, or Pink Lady) and firm, juicy pears (such as Anjou, Bartlett, or Bosc) are naturals for a great salad. So are grapes, especially the beautiful, slightly spicy seedless red varieties. Sometimes, I'll add fresh figs to my fall salads. I also love to include tangy-sweet pomegranate seeds, which look like beautiful rubies when you sprinkle them on as a garnish.

Flavorful cheeses are also great additions. I like those with hints of tanginess or saltiness, such as crumbled blue cheese, feta, or fresh creamy goat cheese, or shavings of good imported Parmesan.

And don't forget the crunchy, rich, earthy-tasting nuts, which seem to me especially wonderful ingredients in the autumn. I often like to use them instead of croutons as garnishes for fall salads, especially when I candy the nuts with an easy-to-apply coating of confectioners' sugar.

There you have it: a pick-and-choose list of ideal ingredients for autumn salads, ready for you to compose your own original version, toss with your favorite dressing. Or, to get you started, try one of my favorite combinations by preparing my recipe for Autumn Salad with Apples, Pomegranate, and Candied Walnuts.

You can serve this Autumn Salad with Apples, Pomegranate and Candied Walnuts recipe as an appetizer or a side dish. And by adding some freshly cooked or leftover chicken, turkey, pork, or ham, you can turn the recipe into a wonderful main dish. However you prepare it, I know you'll enjoy its combination of fresh seasonal colors, textures, and flavors.

Autumn Salad With Apples, Pomegranate & Candied Walnuts Recipe

    Prep Time: 30 minutes

    Cook time: 10 minutes

    Yield: Serves 4

Autumn Salad With Apples, Pomegranate & Candied Walnuts Recipe Ingredients

    Candied Walnuts

    1/2 cup shelled walnut pieces

    2 cups peanut oil

    1 cup confectioners' sugar

    Balsamic Dijon Vinaigrette

    2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

    1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

    1 teaspoon minced shallot

    1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves

    1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

    1/4 cup hazelnut oil

    1/4 cup walnut oil


    Freshly ground black pepper


    3 heads Belgian endive

    1 head baby frisee (curly endive)

    1/2 pound baby arugula leaves

    1/2 pound mixed baby greens

    2 Granny Smith apples

    1 pomegranate

    1/4 pound Roquefort or other blue-veined cheese, crumbled

Autumn Salad With Apples, Pomegranate & Candied Walnuts Recipe Directions

    First, prepare the Candied Walnuts.

    Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Arrange the walnuts in a baking pan and toast them in the oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes, checking to make sure they don't burn.

    Pour the peanut oil into a heavy 2-quart (2-l) saucepan over medium heat. Slowly heat it to 350 degrees F. on a deep-frying thermometer.

    While the oil heats, bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Add the toasted walnuts and boil for about 1 minute. Drain well, then transfer the nuts to paper towels and pat dry.

    When the oil reaches frying temperature, put the confectioners' sugar in a small mixing bowl, add the nuts, and toss to coat them. Then, with a slotted metal spoon, carefully lower the nuts into the hot oil. Cook until deep golden brown, about 30 seconds, and then immediately lift them out carefully with the slotted spoon and transfer to a baking pan lined with paper towels. Set aside.

    Next, prepare the Balsamic Dijon Vinaigrette. In a medium bowl, put the vinegar, mustard, shallot, and thyme. Stir together with a wire whisk. Then, whisking continually, very slowly pour in the olive, hazelnut, and walnut oils, continuing to whisk until the dressing is thick and creamy. Set aside.

    For the salad, separate the endive leaves, rinse and pat them dry; then, stack them, cut crosswise into thin julienne strips, and transfer to a large salad bowl. Rinse the frisee, pat dry with paper towels, trim the leaves, and tear into bite-sized pieces, transferring them to the bowl. Rinse and pat dry the arugula leaves and add to the bowl along with the mixed greens. Peel and core the apples and cut them into julienne strips and add to the bowl.

    With a sturdy, sharp knife, quarter the pomegranate. Immerse each quarter in a bowl of cold water and, with your fingers, separate the seeds from the peel and white pith. Transfer the seeds to paper towels to drain.

    Add the dressing to the bowl of salad ingredients and toss until thoroughly mixed and evenly coated. Mound the salad on individual serving plates. Garnish with the cheese, walnuts, and pomegranate seeds and serve immediately.


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Wolfgang Puck's Autumn Salad with Apples, Pomegranate & Candied Walnuts Recipe

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