CAMBOZOLA, Strawberry, and Dandelion Salad with Candied Walnuts

CAMBOZOLA, Strawberry, and Dandelion Salad with Candied WalnutsForgo the micro-greens and dispatch the spinach, dandelions are the green of choice this spring. With delicate leaves, snappy stalks, and robust flavor, these are not your ordinary weeds. Pluck them up now while their bitter flavor is at perfection.

Here, zesty CAMBOZOLA and sweet strawberries quell dandelions’ powerful bite, harmonizing to create a chorus of flavors. Notes of salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and umami are rounded out by creamy Cambozola and punctuated by the delightful staccato of crunchy walnuts.

I warn you now, this simple salad may induce a state of sensory euphoria.

For the Salad:
3 T. brown sugar
1 T. water
¾ cup walnut halves
1 pound dandelion greens, washed well and chopped into 4-inch long pieces
1 cup strawberry halves

For the Dressing:
½ T. Dijon mustard
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
½ cup extra virgin olive oil

1. Candy the walnuts. (Don’t you love it when the first step in a recipe is to candy something? Yippee!) In a small saucepan, over low heat, stir together the brown sugar and water until the brown sugar is dissolved and begins to bubble and froth. Stir in the walnuts to coat well, cooking for another minute. Then turn them out onto waxed paper and cool completely.
2. Prepare the dressing. Stir together the mustard and balsamic until incorporated. Then pour in the olive oil, while continuously whisking until emulsified.
3. Arrange the dandelions on individual plates. Divide the walnuts and strawberries among the plates and generously decorate.
4. Cut the CAMBOZOLA into ¼-inch slices and then divide each slice into smaller pieces atop each salad. End with a drizzle of vinaigrette and serve.

Dandelion, strawberry, and Cambozola salad detail