Heirloom Apple and Smoked Gouda Salad with Honey Walnut Dressing

Updated February 23, 2016
This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Fall and winter are cold enough in the Tecate mountains to keep apple trees happy, which is very chilly indeed. Heirloom apples are usually firm and tart, with lots of character. Any variety would be great on this perfect fall salad, with crisp apples, nuts, and smoky cheese mixed in with spiky, mildly bitter frisée and crimson radicchio.

Walnut oil may be found at specialty or gourmet shops. Buy only a small amount and keep it refrigerated. Nut oils are always used as an accent flavor, never for cooking. If the walnut oil is mild-flavored, you may want to add a little more than the amount called for in the recipe. A very fruity extra-virgin olive oil is a good substitute.




Total Timeunder 1 hour

One Pot MealYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Formal Dinner Party

Recipe Coursecold appetizer

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, peanut free, soy free, vegetarian


Mealdinner, lunch

Taste and Texturecrisp, crunchy, nutty, smoky, sweet

Type of Dishfirst course salad


  • 1 large head curly endive (frisée)
  • ½ cup finely shredded radicchio
  • 2 large shallots, minced
  • 3 tablespoons walnut oil (see note)
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, or more to taste
  • 2 large, firm, tart apples, such as anna or granny smith, cored, sliced, and cut into julienne
  • ¾ cup walnuts, toasted and broken into pieces
  • 3 ounces natural smoked gouda or smoked mozzarella, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • ¼ cup golden raisins or dried cherries


Trim any tough, dark green leaves from the frisée. Break the head into leaves, wash well, and spin dry. Separate the curly frizz from the thick stems and tear the frizz into bite-sized pieces. Combine with the shredded radicchio and set aside.

In a blender, combine the shallots, oil, vinegars, honey, and pepper. Taste for seasoning and add pepper if needed.

Toss the greens with a small amount of dressing and divide among 6 chilled plates. Top each salad with some apples, walnuts, cheese, and raisins. Drizzle with additional dressing and serve immediately.


Scatter golden yellow and orange flower petals from unsprayed fall flowers, such as marigolds, calendula, or mums, over the finished salad just before serving.


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