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Gorgonzola Pecan Crunch Salad with Hazelnut Vinaigrette

Course Salad
Cuisine American
Keyword bacon, gorgonzola, pecan, Salad, thanksgiving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

Salad:

  • 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

Pecan Crunch: (I always double this!)

  • 2/3 cups pecans chopped coarse
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne

Hazelnut Vinaigrette:

  • 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*
  • 1/4 cup light olive oil

Instructions

  1. Wash and dry the lettuce. Combine with chopped bacon and grapes in large bowl. Chill.
  2. Combine pecans with butter, sugar, salt, pepper and cayenne in non stick pan. Cook over medium heat until the sugar caramelizes. Stir often. Pour onto a lightly greased sheet of foil. Let cool completely. Break up pieces by hand or chop on cutting board.

  3. Combine all of the dressing ingredients in bowl, or jar and whisk until well blended. Refrigerate leftover dressing.

Recipe Notes

  • Usually, about half of this dressing is enough for one salad.
  • 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 substitute and use Canola oil.
  • I've found the best way to make this dressing is to purchase frozen concentrate oj. Thaw about 2 tablespoons in 1/4 cup of water. Stir and use in dressing. The concentrate mixed with a little water gives the dressing great flavor!