Frisee Salad with Goat Cheese, Maple Vinaigrette and Candied Walnuts
- For the vinaigrette
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
- For the walnuts
- 2 cups walnut halves
- 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
- Vegetable oil for deep-frying
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
- 3 large heads of frisee (French or Italian chicory, available at specialty produce markets), outer leaves discarded and the inner leaves rinsed, spun dry, and torn into 2-inch pieces
- 9 Medjool dates, pitted and sliced thin
- 3 ounces Laura Chenel's Taupiniere goat cheese or other such as St. Maure or Valencay, cut into 6 slices
- 3 ounces Laura Chenel's Chabis goat cheese or other such as Montrachet or Chevrion, cut into 6 slices
- 3 ounces Laura Chenel's Capriccio goat cheese cut into 6 slices
- 6 thin slices of whole-wheat walnut bread
- Chopped fresh chervil and chives for garnish
Make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, syrup and shallot, add the oils in a stream, whisking, and whisk the vinaigrette until it is emulsified. Season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper.
Make the candied walnuts: In a saucepan simmer the walnuts in water to cover for 5 minutes, or until they are softened slightly, drain them, and transfer them to a paper towel to dry completely. In a bowl stir together the walnuts and the sugar. In a Dutch oven heat 3 inches of the oil to 350 degrees on a deep-fat thermometer and in it fry the walnuts in batches for 1 to 2 minutes, or until they are brown and crisp. Transfer the walnuts as they are fried with a slotted spoon to a baking sheet and season them with the salt and cayenne.
In a large bowl, toss the frisee with the dates and enough of the vinaigrette to just coat the salad, rserving any remaining vinaigrette for another use. Divide the salad among 6 plates, mounding it in the center, divide the cheeses and the bread around it, and sprinkle the salads with the walnuts and the herbs.