Endive-Watercress Salad with Candied Walnuts
- SERVINGS: 8
- 1 1/2 cups walnut halves (about 5 ounces)
- 1/2 tablespoon water
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- Kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons walnut oil
- 4 large Belgian endives—halved lengthwise, cored and cut into thirds crosswise
- 3 bunches of watercress, large stems trimmed
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Toast the walnuts for about 8 minutes, or until lightly browned. Gently rub off any large pieces of skin and transfer the nuts to a bowl. Add the water and toss to moisten the nuts, then add the brown sugar and a large pinch of salt and toss to coat.
- Spread the nuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 10 minutes, stirring a few times, until the walnuts are browned and crisp. Transfer to a plate to cool.
- In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar with 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and the pepper. Stir in the olive oil and walnut oil. In a large bowl, combine the endives and watercress. Just before serving, toss the salad with the dressing and scatter the walnuts over the top.
The core of golden fruit in a California Chardonnay, coupled with its smokiness, marries well with the nutty dressing and candied walnut garnish. An alternative: a California Sauvignon Blanc; its ripe concentrated fruit is a perfect balance for the slight bitterness of the endive.