Caramelized nuts is super easy to do. Using a silpat pretty much guarantees you no sticky messy clean ups.
- 1 T unsalted butter
- 1 T water
- 1/4 c brown sugar
- 1 C walnut or pecan halves
- sea salt to taste
Over medium heat melt butter. Just as butter begins to sizzle add brown sugar and water. With whisk stir constantly until all the sugar is dissolved into the butter and water. Cook 1-3 minutes until bubbly and turning a dark bubbly brown. Add nuts and toss carefully until well coated. Immediately pour onto silpat lined baking sheet. Separate the nuts. Salt with coarse sea salt.
The nuts are an integral part of the textures in this pear/Stilton/caramelized nut salad. It works best if you use lighter flavored salad dressings or vinaigrette's so you don't overwhelm and hide the subtle sweetness of the pears or the lightly tangy Stilton. One of the things I like about the salad is that you do get the whole slightly sweet and salty play with the pear and sea salt on the nuts.
Pear Stilton and Caramelized Nut Salad
- 5-6 cups mixed greens (I use Fresh & Easy Wild Rocket blend)
- 1 ripe pear
- 1/2 c crumbled blue Stilton (An English Blue cheese, sub Gorgonzola if you can't find Stilton)
- 1/2 c bacon bits
- 1/2 c thinly sliced English Cucumber
- 1/2 c Caramelized Nut
- 4 slices baguette
- Salad Dressing (I used honey mustard)
- Black Pepper
Divide greens between two large salad plates of bowls. Place a couple of slices of bread on the side of the bowl. Divide cucumber and put on top of the greens. Core the pear and cut into a dozen thin slices. Add the pears. Divide the Stilton and to salad. Divide Nuts and add to salad.
Dress to taste. Add fresh cracked black pepper to taste.