OK, I only call it that because it's Green, Red, and White and had candy on it. It looked so perfect on our table tonight with our Mushroom Bourguignon, and it tasted even better. Now, I should probably put it out there at the beginning that the basis of this recipe is celery. Yup, celery. It was a winner, though, because not only was it delicious, but I already had toasted hazelnuts on hand and so it came together in a snap. You could, of course, use any kind of nuts and it would still be delicious. I'm think walnuts or pecans would be amazing. If you're going to toast the nuts, start them first, and by the time they're finished, you're done with everything else.
Celery, Blue Cheese, and Cranberry Salad
adapted from Simply Recipes
6 oz. blue cheese, crumbled
3/4 cup hazelnuts, roasted, skins removed, and coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp maple Syrup
Pinch of cayenne
1 1/2 bunches of celery (more or less, depending on the size of it)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup olive oil
4 teaspoons lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
If you need to roast your hazelnuts, there are 30-second instructions here. If using other nuts, or not roasting, proceed.
Slice the celery stalks on the diagonal into 1/4-inch thick slices and lay them on a large serving platter. Sprinkle cranberries over the top, then crumbled blue cheese.
Melt butter in a small skillet. Add a pinch of cayenne and salt. Add the roasted hazelnuts to the pan and toast them on medium low heat for a few minutes, stirring continuously. When the hazelnuts are hot, turn off the heat and add maple syrup to the pan. Stir to coat the hazelnuts in the maple syrup. Let glazed nuts sit in the pan to cool, stirring every couple minutes to keep them loose as they cool.
In a small jar, mix together the olive oil and lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Shake to combine.
Toss nuts over the salad, and drizzle on dressing just before serving.