I hosted our 17th Iron Chef Competition. I decided that our "secret" ingredient would be grape. There was some contention concerning this ingredient. I think because there aren't a heckuva lot of recipes out there for grape. You really have to go digging to conjure up some recipes. Overall, I think it was a pretty darn successful competition. I wanted to make something delicious, but I didn't really want to win since I was the hostess. I decided to make a side dish, and tried a couple different recipes. Ultimately, I settled on this salad because I thought it was delicious and represented the grape well. Plus, it's a pretty dish which doesn't hurt. I've since made this salad and it's really scrumptious. Enjoy.
8 ounces mixed greens
2 cups red grapes, sliced in half
2 pears, peeled, cored, and diced
2/3 cup dried cranberries (Craisins)
½ cup shelled pistachios
2 ounces gorgonzola cheese (I used Manchego cheese)
Sherry Shallot Vinaigrette
1 medium shallot, minced (about 4 teaspoons)
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup sherry vinegar (if you can't find sherry vinegar, substitute red wine vinegar)
½ cup olive oil
The recipe doesn't call for this, but I roasted my grapes. Set your oven to 350 degrees. Take out a baking sheet and add some foil on top. Place the sliced grapes on the baking sheet, and place in the oven. Bake for about 5 to 10 minutes until the grapes start to soften. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Now, let's make the dressing. Take out a small bowl, and combine the minced shallots, garlic, salt, pepper, and vinegar. Then, whisk in the olive oil until well combined. Now, onto the salad. Take out a large bowl and combine the lettuce, diced pears, cranberries, pistachios, cheese, and roasted grapes. Using salad tongs give a quick toss of the ingredients. Pour in the dressing and serve immediately. Enjoy.