Endive Salad with Blue Cheese, Cranberries and Candied Walnuts
This colorful salad makes a wonderful starter during the winter holidays. To save time, prepare the blue cheese dressing up to 2 days in advance; cover and refrigerate until ready to use. You can also make the candied walnuts several days ahead of time. Let them cool completely, then store in an airtight container at room temperature.
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 Tbs. water
- 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 4 oz. walnut pieces, lightly toasted
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- 4 oz. blue cheese, such as Maytag, crumbled
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 10 heads Belgian endive
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
In a heavy 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the sugar and water. Cook, without stirring, until the mixture turns amber, 6 to 8 minutes. If the sugar burns, turns very dark or smells acrid, discard it and start over.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter until incorporated. Quickly stir in the walnuts until well coated. Spread in an even layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Let cool completely, then break apart any large clusters.
In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, buttermilk, lemon juice, 2 oz. of the blue cheese and the chives. Season with salt and pepper. Set the dressing aside.
Cut 6 of the endive heads crosswise into 1/4-inch strips. Pull the leaves off of the remaining 4 heads, trimming the stems as needed to release the leaves. In a large bowl, toss together all of the endive. Drizzle with the dressing and top with the remaining 2 oz. blue cheese, the candied walnuts and cranberries. Serve immediately. Serves 8 to 10.