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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Walnut Oil

I feel I must share with you the deliciousness in a bottle known as walnut oil. Somehow this wonderful oil never popped on my radar screen until a few years ago when I read a book called Cooking for Mr. Latte by Amanda Hessler of the New York Times. (A fun read, incidentally -- what's not to like about a book that combines dating and cooking, two of my favorite things?)

In the book, Hessler used walnut oil for a few recipes, most memorably drizzling them on simple steamed green beans. I think she may have also added crushed walnuts for flavor. It's just a variation on the green beans almondine my mom and lots of others made in the 80s, but perhaps a heart-healthier version with all of the positive press walnuts get these days.

Anyway, my favorite way to use walnut oil is in a simple vinaigrette. I got the recipe from the back of a bottle -- not the one pictured above, but a slightly fancier brand I can only get when I go to the Taj MaTeeter (the ritzier outpost of Charlotte's ubiquitous Harris Teeter grocery chain).

Mix 4 tablespoons walnut oil with 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard and one tablespoon balsamic vinaigrette. If you are feeling it, you could also add in a little garlic, as I did in the salad above (green beans, fresh basil, edamame and fresh tomatoes from my neighbor Dick Kane). Try it on a salad with fresh red bell pepper, goat cheese and toasted will die of deliciousness!

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