Tasty Morsels: Spiced walnuts, arugula and grilled filet are winning salad trio

By: Susie Iventosch/Home & Garden
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A few weeks ago my son and I celebrated his birthday at the Auburn Alehouse. Unfortunately, it was his 18th birthday, so no Shanghai Stout for him. But for me, it was a perfect meal with Chef Luis Gomez’s Veggie Napoleon accompanied by Brewmaster Brian Ford’s American River Pale Ale. In addition to the Veggie Napoleon, Luis makes a fantastic Grilled Filet Napoleon Salad, served on a bed of arugula and topped with honey roasted walnuts. Can you say “yum?” We just happened to pick up four arugula plants at Bella Fiore Nursery in Heather Glen (near Applegate) for our veggie garden and they’ve already produced plenty for this dish. A nutty, slightly bitter green, arugula is the perfect foil for this salad with the balsamic vinaigrette and sweet nuts. I would think this salad would also be excellent with grilled chicken. If you taste a dish you love at the Auburn Alehouse, Chef Luis is always happy to share his recipes. Just give him a call or stop by. And, don’t forget to join them for their one-year anniversary celebration from June 19-22. n Luis Gomez’ Grilled Filet Napoleon Salad Chef’s note: There are three sets of directions: begin with vinaigrette, then nuts, and finally the construction of the salad. n White Balsamic Vinaigrette Ingredients 1 shallot, minced 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced 8 leaves of basil ½ cup olive oil ¼ cup white balsamic vinegar 1 tablespoon granulated sugar ¼ teaspoon black pepper Salt to taste Directions In a blender, puree shallots, garlic and basil. Add to remaining ingredients in a bowl, and whisk all together. n Roasted Spiced Walnuts Ingredients 1 cup walnuts halves 1 tablespoon honey ¼ teaspoon black pepper ¼ teaspoon salt 2 tablespoon granulated sugar Small pinch cayenne pepper Directions Spread walnuts on a cookie sheet and roast in 375-degree oven for about eight minutes. Remove from oven and place in a bowl. Add salt, and both black and cayenne peppers. Toss them very well to get an even coating of seasoning. Add the honey, and keep tossing then, and finally add sugar, continuing the toss. Spread them on a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper until completely cooled. Waxed paper keeps them from sticking to the baking sheet. n Filet Napoleon Salad construction Ingredients per serving 2 medallions filet mignon, 3 ounces each and ¼-inch thick 3 slices vine-ripened tomatoes 3 thin slices sweet red onions 1 handful of arugula 2 ounces of spiced walnuts (from above) 2 ½ ounces gorgonzola cheese, crumbled 3 ounces of white balsamic vinaigrette (from above) Directions Season filets with salt and pepper and grill to desired doneness, set aside Toss baby arugula and vinaigrette in a bowl and then place in the center of a dinner plate. In the middle of the arugula place a slice of tomato, then layer a slice of sweet red onion and a medallion of filet mignon. Repeat the same process, building a tower. Sprinkle walnuts and cheese crumbles on top. Serve and enjoy! Susie can be reach at