Candied Walnut, Pear, and Leafy Green Salad

Photo: Ellen Silverman; Styling: Toni Brogan

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup sugar 
  • 2/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted 
  • Cooking spray 
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 1 tablespoon capers, chopped
  • 4 cups torn green leaf lettuce
  • 4 cups chopped romaine lettuce 
  • 4 cups chopped radicchio
  • ripe red Anjou pear, thinly sliced 
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 

Preparation

  1. 1. Place sugar in a small, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat; cook until sugar dissolves, stirring gently as needed to dissolve sugar evenly (about 1 minute). Continue cooking 1 minute or until golden (do not stir). Remove from heat; carefully stir in nuts to coat evenly. Spread nuts on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray; separate nuts quickly. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside until cool; break into small pieces.
  2. 2. Combine vinegar and mustard, stirring with a whisk. Gradually add oil, stirring constantly with a whisk. Stir in capers.
  3. 3. Combine lettuces and radicchio; top with pear and candied walnuts. Drizzle dressing evenly over salad; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Toss gently to combine.
  4. Wine note: I favor a crisp white with almost any green salad, and Candied Walnut, Pear, and Leafy Green Salad is no exception. 2007 Pinon Vouvray Cuvée Tradition ($16) has a gorgeous nose of honey and lemon peel that resonates perfectly with the candied nuts and pears. --Gary Vaynerchuck