Gorgonzola : Gorgonzola is a traditional, creamery and co-operative, blue cheese. The greenish-blue penicillin mould imparts a sharp, spicy flavor and provides an excellent contrast to the rich, creamy cheese. (Sounds kind of sick, as Jake, my 12 year old would say). Gorgonzola is made in the northern Italian village, according to which the cheese has its name, either from unpasteurized or pasteurized milk to which the mould is added. At about four weeks the cheeses are pierced with thick needles to encourage the spread of the mould. Gorgonzola ripens in three to six months. The taste ranges from mild to sharp, depending on age.
7 cups lettuce or mixed greens, I like red leaf lettuce best
6-8 oz Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
3/4 lb. bacon, cooked until crisp, chopped
1/2 lb. seedless red grapes
2/3 cups pecans, chopped coarse
2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoons salt
Fresh ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
4 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup hazelnut oil*
1/4cup light olive oil
Wash and dry the lettuce. Combine with chopped bacon and grapes in large bowl. Chill.
Combine pecans with butter, sugar, salt, pepper and cayenne in non stick pan. Cook over medium heat until the sugar caramelizes. Stir often. Place the mixture in a small paper bag to cool. Shake to break up pieces, or chop on cutting board.
Combine all of the dressing ingredients in bowl, whisk until well blended. Refrigerate leftover dressing.
-*If you are unable to find hazelnut oil, or can’t afford it (it’s about $6 for an 8 oz bottle) you may substitute 1/2 cup canola oil and omit the hazelnut and olive oils. When I make this in large quantities-50 servings or more, I always sub and just use Canola oil.