October 2, 2008

Hazelnut Salad with Sourdough Croutons

Hazelnut Salad with Sourdough Croutons

I was so glad to find out I could make one of those delicious restaurant-type salads at home. You know, the kind with fresh greens, stinky cheese, fresh fruit, and a nice balsamic or fruit-based dressing. This salad was absolutely wonderful, and what's better, so many different substitutions can be made for each ingredient. The recipes called for fresh, bitter, spicy arugula; crushed hazelnuts; sweet, chewy, sticky dried fig pieces; crisp, juicy apple slices; and a nice salty, nutty, savory Gruyere (similar to Swiss) cheese. All of that was tossed in a white wine vinegar, hazelnut oil, and Dijon mustard dressing with shallots for a nice, tangy complement to the fruits. To top it off, I made croutons from whole wheat sourdough bread cubes tossed with more hazelnut oil. (Don't worry, the hazelnut flavor is not overwhelming, but adds a nice subtle nuttiness.) I couldn't get enough of this salad! This is great as a first course, or doubled as a main course.

Make again? Definitely. And I'd love to experiment with ingredient substitutions...pears or raspberries, blue cheese or gorgonzola, walnuts or almonds, mixed greens or baby lettuces...the list goes on.




Hazelnut Salad with Sourdough Croutons
Vegetarian Times, October 2005

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