Endive-and-Manchego Salad with Smoked Cocoa Walnuts

The nut frying oil is the secret to the dressing for this colorful salad, a mix of red and Belgian endive, grapefruit sections and shaved cheese. Chef Dave Beran created the dish to pair with New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Slideshow: More Main Course Salad Recipes 

Endive-and-Manchego Salad with Smoked Cocoa Walnuts
Photo: © Con Poulos
Total Time:
40 mins


Cocoa Walnuts

  • 1 cup grapeseed oil

  • 1 1/2 cups walnut halves (5 ounces)

  • 1 tablespoon smoked salt

  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

  • Freshly ground pepper


  • 1 large pink grapefruit

  • 1 large egg yolk

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • Kosher salt 

  • Pepper

  • 1 1/2 pounds Belgian and red endives, cored and leaves separated (8 cups)

  • 3 ounces Manchego cheese, shaved

  • Tarragon, for garnish


Make the cocoa walnuts

  1. In a saucepan, combine the grapeseed oil and walnuts and cook over low heat, stirring, until the oil reaches 300° on a candy thermometer and the walnuts are deep golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Strain the walnuts over a bowl, then spread on a paper towel-lined platter and let cool. Set aside 1/2 cup of the frying oil and reserve the rest for another use.

  2. In a mortar, crush the smoked salt to a powder. Stir in the cocoa powder and sugar and season with pepper. In a bowl, toss the walnuts with the smoked cocoa seasoning.

Make the salad

  1. Using a sharp knife, peel the grapefruit, removing all of the bitter white pith. Working over a small bowl, cut in between the membranes to release the sections. Reserve 1 tablespoon of juice.

  2. In a food processor, pulse the egg yolk with the reserved tablespoon of grapefruit juice, the lemon juice and vanilla bean paste. With the machine on, slowly drizzle in the reserved 1/2 cup of frying oil until emulsified. Season the dressing with salt and pepper.

  3. In a large bowl, toss the endives with three-fourths of the vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the endives on plates and top with the grapefruit sections, Manchego and cocoa walnuts. Garnish with tarragon and serve.

Make Ahead

The cocoa walnuts can be stored in an airtight container for 1 week.

Suggested Pairing

A fresh Sauvignon Blanc.

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