I was recently contacted by Sadaf, a brand of Mediterranean ingredients, about their grapeseed oil, and this pear walnut salad recipe. I’ve been using grapeseed oil for many years due to its nice neutral flavor and versatility, but I usually just pick it up at Trader Joe’s. Though I’m constantly on the lookout for an olive oil that isn’t too “grassy,” I hadn’t thought about taste-testing grapeseed oil. Well Sadaf may have won me over. I did a side-by-side comparison, and Sadaf had a cleaner and lighter taste. Here are some great things about grapeseed oil, and this brand in particular:
- Pure oil, made in Italy
- High smoke point (noted as 485ºF) makes it good for high heat cooking
- A very neutral taste for baking (sweet or savory) and cooking – great alternative to canola and sunflower oils
- Good source of vitamin E (though it is packaged in clear bottles, so I’m not sure how quickly it degrades)
- Fair price – at last check, Sadaf was just $7.35 for a big 1 liter bottle
If you are like me, and sometimes find extra-virgin olive oil too overpowering, then this pear walnut salad recipe may suit you nicely. The neutral grapeseed oil adds richness while letting the other flavorful ingredients shine.
- 4 ounces (1/2 cup) Sadaf grapeseed oil
- ¼ cup simple syrup (see preparation note below)
- 2-1/2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾ cup walnut pieces
- 1 tablespoon Sadaf grapeseed oil
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1-1/2 heads of butter lettuce, hand torn into bite size pieces or 5-ounce package arugula
- 1 ripe pear, cored and thin sliced lengthwise, dipped in lemon juice
- For the dressing, whisk or blend the oil, syrup, vinegar, and salt. Adjust dressing to taste, if needed.
- For the salad, heat the 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-low heat. Add the walnuts and sauté for a few minutes. Add the brown sugar and cook until caramelized.
- In a large bowl, toss the salad dressing with the greens, pear slices, walnuts, and sugar, until well coated.