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Pear, Gorgonzola and Hazelnut Salad


Looking for a salad that’s different yet fresh and comforting. Try this lively combination of hearty cheese, hazelnuts, fruit and greens.

According to the new “Carrabba’s Italian Grill Cookbook: Recipes from Around Our Family Table” (John Wiley & Sons, $19.95), “It took time for some folks to get used to pears in their green salad. Now this combination of sweet fruit, bitter greens, pungent cheese and crunchy nuts is appreciated for its creative blend of flavors and textures Be suer to let the pears get nice and ripe. Domestic Gorgonzola cheese is perfect, but if you use the Italian version, “mountain” Gorgonzola is easier to crumble than the creamy “dolce” cheese.”

Pear, Gorgonzola and Hazelnut Salad

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup hazelnut oil (see note)
1 head radicchio, about 7 ounces, cored and torn into bite-sized pieces
1 head frisée, about 6 ounces, torn into bite-sized pieces
1 Belgian endive, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces, core removed
2 ripe Anjou or Bartlett pears, unpeeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch wedges
1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
2/3 cup (about 3 ounces) hazelnuts, toasted, skinned and coarsely chopped

Whisk the vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, or to taste, in a large salad bowl. Gradually whisk in the oil. Add the radicchio, frisée and endive and toss. Add the pears and Gorgonzola and toss gently. Sprinkle with the hazelnuts. Season with salt and pepper. Serve on salad plates.

Note: For homemade hazelnut oil, use a blender on 1/2 cup toasted and chopped hazelnuts and 1/2 cup vegetable oil until the nuts are minced, let stand 5 minutes and strain.

Makes 6-8 servings.

 

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Chefs’ Corner: Grape-Gorgonzola Salad at Texas de Brazil


Grape Salad with Roasted Apples and Gorgonzola Cheese

Looking for a colorful salad that’s easy to make yet filled with layers of flavor? Texas de Brazil, the steakhouse at 313 E. Houston St., has a winner in its Grape Salad with Roasted Apples and Gorgonzola Cheese.

“This salad is especially great if accompanying roasted pork loin or leg of lamb,” says chef Evandro Caregnato, who created this recipe because he wanted a salad that pairs well with wine. (With wine in mind, use only a sprinkling of sugar on the apples and try to use a sugar-free mayonnaise, such as Duke’s, if you are not making your own.)

This salad would be a refreshing addition to your Fiesta parties and get-togethers any time of year.

Texas de Brazil’s Grape Salad with Roasted Apples and Gorgonzola Cheese

2 golden delicious apples, peeled and cored
Sugar, to taste
1 1/2 cups seedless red grapes
1 1/2 cups seedless green grapes
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut the apples into 1-inch cubes and dust with a little sugar. Place the apples in a single layer in a greased pan. Roast for about 20 minutes or until lightly golden. Let cool.

Combine 1-1/2 cups roasted apples with grapes, mayonnaise, lemon juice and cheese in a large bowl. Mix well and chill before serving.

Makes 10 side-dish servings.

From Evandro Caregnato/Texas de Brazil

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Ask a Foodie: Cambozola a ‘Hybrid’ Cheese


Q. What is Cambozola cheese, and what wines would pair well with it?

A. Cambozola is a popular cheese, though we note that food writers Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst, in “The Cheese Lover’s Companion”,  say it’s not particularly revered among true cheese aficionados.

It was “invented” in Germany in the 1970s, and is a blend of Camembert and Gorgonzola cheeses, from which the cheese gets its name. By adding extra cream to the Cambozola, the fat content swells to 70 percent. Then, it is injected with blue mold Penicillium spores and ripened for three weeks, according “The Cheese Lover’s Companion.”  The result is a triple cream cheese with just a touch of blue cheese flavor.

Those who like it  find it a creamy, good accompaniment to fruit, such as pears or figs, as well as with fruity red wines such as a Cru Beaujolais, Zinfandel or dry, red Primitivo.

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