Arugula, Mint, and Apple Salad with Walnuts and Buttermilk Dressing / by Rattaya Nagorski

That title is certainly a mouthful to sayI I almost was going to do a pun there with "mouthful" food, but let's just leave that right here. Ha ha. Now let's just get on with the dish itself. :)

This yummy salad, from Fine Cooking Holiday Recipes 2014, gets its shine from the toasted walnuts. That is definitely the star of this dish. I omitted the mint when I made it, not sure if it would improve/affect the overall taste, but the salad itself was quite yummy. The sweet apple with the creamy dressing, it's a full plate on its own. 

I forgot to buy the radicchio, so there's none in the picture, and that would certainly help coat the heavy dressing. I love a lot of dressing on my salad, so tossing all the prepared items with half of it is awesome for me. If you don't, only toss a quarter of it. You won't use of the prepared dressing, so you'll have plenty more for later time. Serves 6.

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GATHER:

For the dressing:

  • 2 tbsp finely diced shallots (about 1 medium)
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 cup creme fraiche
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • Finely ground black pepper

For the salad:

  • 3/4 cup walnuts (about 3oz)
  • 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 apples (preferably Gala, Fiji, or Pink Lady)
  • 1/2 lb baby arugula, washed and spun dry
  • 1 medium head radicchio (about 4oz), washed, spun dry, and torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup small fresh mint leaves, washed and spun dry

MAKE:

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  1. Make the dressing: combine the shallots, lemon juice, and 1/2 tsp salt in a small bowl, and let sit 5 minutes. Whisk in the creme fraiche and buttermilk, then the mayonnaise. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. 
  2. Position the rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 375.
  3. Spread the walnuts on the baking sheet and toast them, stirring once or twice, until they smell nutty and are lightly browned, 8 to 10 min. When the nuts have cooled slightly, toss them with the olive oil and add a generous pinch of salt. Crumble half of them with your hands.
  4. Cut the apples into 1/8-in-thick slices and put them into a large salad bowl. Dress the apples with half of the buttermilk dressing, and then gently toss in the arugula, radicchio, and mint. The salad should be light dressed - add more salad dressing only if needed (you will have leftover dressing, which will keep for a few days in the fridge).
  5. Arrange the salad on six plates, and scatter the toasted walnuts (both crumbled and whole) over the top.