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Salad of fresh greens, goat cheese and walnuts various lettuce varieties (butterhead, oak leaf, lollo rosso, lamb's lettuce etc) or mesclun mixture
arugula (if not already included in salad mixture)
soft, sliceable goat cheese ("chèvre")
sweet red grapes  —  preferably seedless, or sweet apples (
eg "Pink Lady", "Braeburn", etc)
walnut or hazelnut oil
balsamic vinegar, red or white
Canadian maple syrup
black pepper

Wash the lettuce leaves or the mesclun mixture, spin dry in a salad spinner or drain on paper towels. Wash and drain the arugula leaves as well. Wash the grapes and cut them in half lengthwise, removing the possible seeds. Leave them whole, if they are very small and seedless.

If you have the patience, peel the grape halves by scooping out the flesh with a teaspoon (see the illustrated instructions for peeling grapes here). Do this only if the grapes are large and/or have thick skins. If you are using apples, wash them thoroughly (and peel, if you like), core them and cut into small cubes.

Roughly chop the walnuts. Tear the lettuce leaves in bite-size pieces and arrange on a serving plate. Crumble the goat cheese and sprinkle the pieces on top of the lettuce together with the walnuts and the grape halves or apple cubes.

Instead of crumbling the cheese, you can cut it into about 1 to 1½ centimetre slices and quickly brown them in a hot, non-stick pan or broil on a griddle on both sides, until golden brown. Do this quickly so that the cheese will not melt.

Prepare the dressing by pouring a couple of tablespoons of walnut oil in a bowl. Whisk in a dash of balsamic vinegar and maple syrup, the dressing should taste slightly sweet. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the sauce over the salad and serve.

Note: instead of the goat cheese, walnuts and grapes or apples, you can use soft blue cheese, pine kernels and sweet, juicy pears, peeled, cored and cut into small cubes. Also, balsamic vinegar may be replaced with raspberry vinegar or other sweetish, fruity vinegar, and maple syrup with runny honey.

Recipe source: adapted from "Salade de roquette aux poires et au gorgonzola" by restaurant "Le Continental", Radio Canada/Montréal Express, 2003.


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