Hazelnuts are small, spherical nuts with a sweet, rich, robust flavor, never so welcome as in autumn. They make one of the most assertive nut oils, which adds a pleasant depth of flavor to green salads.
Recipe courtesy of Williams-Sonoma.com
- 2/3 cup hazelnuts
- 3 large bunches watercress, about 1 1/2 pounds total, tough stems removed
- 3 heads Belgian endive, about 1 pound total, cored and separated into leaves
- 5 tablespoons hazelnut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
- 3 tablespoons pear vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more as needed
- 3 small, ripe but firm pears, preferably red Bartlett
- 1 Preheat an oven to 375°F.
- 2 In a shallow metal pan, toast the hazelnuts, stirring once or twice, until crisp, fragrant and brown, about 10 minutes.
- 3 Wrap the hot nuts in a clean kitchen towel and let steam for 1 minute, then vigorously roll the wrapped nuts between the palms of your hands until most of the dark brown skins are removed. Pick the nuts out of the debris of the peels and coarsely chop them.
- 4 In a large bowl, toss together the watercress and endive. Drizzle with the oil and toss again. Sprinkle the 1/2 teaspoon salt over the greens and toss again.
- 5 Add the hazelnuts, vinegar and the 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss well. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.
- 6 Divide the greens among individual plates. Halve and core the pears and cut each half lengthwise into 8 slices. Garnish each plate with pear slices, tucking them into the greens. Serve immediately.
- 7 Make-Ahead Tip: The nuts can be toasted and skinned 1 day ahead; store in an airtight jar at room temperature. Chop them shortly before completing the salad.