Watercress-Wisconsin Gorgonzola Salad With Spiced Walnuts

watercress blue cheese salad
Walnuts are spiced with cayenne and maple syrup and used to top a salad of watercress, romaine, red onion and dried cranberry salad.
Recipe By: Chefs Frank Randazzo and Andrea Curto-Randazzo
  • PrepN/A |
  • TotalN/A |
  • Serves 6


  • Salad:
    • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided
    • 1 bunch watercress, rinsed, dried and stems removed
    • 1/2 head romaine lettuce, cleaned and cut into 1/2-inch strips
    • 1/2 cup (3 ounces) crumbled Wisconsin Gorgonzola cheese
    • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
    • 2 tablespoons julienned red onion
    • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • Salt, to taste
    • Freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • Spiced Walnuts:
    • 1/3 cup walnuts (halves and pieces)
    • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup


Preheat the oven to 375ºF.

For the spiced walnuts, place the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast lightly, about 5 minutes. Remove to a bowl and toss with the cayenne pepper and maple syrup. Return the coated nuts to the baking sheet. Return to the oven for 5 minutes. Remove the walnuts to oiled wax paper to cool.

For the salad, bring 1 cup of balsamic vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan. Simmer to reduce the liquid by two-thirds, and remove from the heat. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, mix the remaining ingredients, including the remaining 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. Divide the salad among six plates. Drizzle the reserved reduced balsamic vinegar around the plates.

Serve immediately.
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