My friend Scott eats every meal out, and when he comes to our house he can’t help himself. He places his order for dinner, and it’s the same every time: this salad and The Best Coq au Vin. I can’t say that these dishes are the greatest compliments to one another, but each is really, really good in its own right and I do serve them with other things or, in the case of this salad, on its own for a girls’ lunch…unless Scott’s coming. So, for his birthday dinner last week there were no surprises (except for the cake—I made a Chocolate Caramel Tart…stay tuned). You can make this salad without sugaring the cashews, but it’s not a lot of work to do so and they really are delicious with the roquefort and the balsamic. Arugula is an absolute must versus any other green; its pepperiness is just the right balance for the sweetness of the cashews and the balsamic. The roquefort just adds pizzazz and sends everything over the top.
Arugula for 6, rinsed and perfectly dry
6 oz. roquefort, room temperature, crumbled (you can use blue cheese or gorgonzola)
2 ripe pears, cored and sliced thinly
Sugared cashews, recipe below
Balsamic vinaigrette, recipe below
Top arugula with sliced pears, roquefort, cashews. Add vinaigrette and toss. Divide among plates.
1 egg white
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 t. kosher salt
2 cups roasted unsalted cashews
Heat the oven to 250 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchement paper.
Place the egg white in a large stainless steel bowl and whisk until frothy. Slowly whisk in the sugar and salt until thick. Fold in the cashews and toss until well coated.
Transfer the cashews to the baking sheet and arrange in a single layer. Place in the oven and bake, stirring gently every 15 minutes until the meringue covers the nuts with a chewy, pale golden brown coating, 35 to 40 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Then remove the nuts from the pan with a metal spatula and set aside to cool before serving. You can make in advance and store in an airtight container.
6 T good olive oil
2 T good balsamic vinegar
Whisk together oil and vinegar.