This starter is based on a previously posted salad of mine; however, here I've added the phyllo shell for a crispy bite as well as tweaking the vinaigrette to finish off with a touch of sweetness.
The walnuts and mushroom add savory and meaty deliciousness over a bed of the mesclun or spring greens that add color, texture and flavors ranging from sweet to peppery. I like a mix of Belgian endive, radicchio, frisee, watercress, butterhead and romaine, but will normally buy whatever mixture the market has to offer.
California Walnuts posted this recipe on their website as one top contender in the Walnut contest they paired with Food52: http://www.walnuts.org/your-best-walnut-recipe-contest-with-food52/
VINAIGRETTE – note: make first…to aid in preparing this recipe
Combine all vinaigrette ingredients in a mason jar (or something similar) and shake to emulsify. Set aside at room temperature until needed.
SALAD + Glazed Walnuts & Phyllo Tart Shell
Glaze the walnuts: toss them with 1-1/2 tablespoons of the prepared dressing, add a sprinkle of sea salt. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray, add the coated walnuts and toast in a pre-heated 350° oven for 8 minutes, stir half way through. After taking out of the oven, scrape the walnuts onto a plate, ASAP, so that they don’t stick to the baking sheet. Set aside until needed.
Prepare the phyllo shell - in a 9 inch tart pan criss-cross to layer the phyllo sheets, layer sheets one by one, lightly brushing each with oil all the way out to the ends. To each layer, add a light sprinkling of sea salt. Turn in the phyllo edges – I like a rustic look. Bake in a 350° oven 8-10 minutes – set aside to let cool about a half hour. Note: the middle of the phyllo crust will puff up, don’t worry about it; just press it down after taking out of the oven.
Finely mince the shallot. Finely mince the garlic cloves. Thin slice the mushrooms…keep these ingredients separate from each other – set aside.
Rinse and spin dry the greens, barely coat with drizzles of vinaigrette, scatter the greens over the cooled phyllo tart shell; let sit while preparing the final touch.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette over medium heat. Add the shallot and mushroom, sauté until they start to release their juices, about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and some fresh ground black pepper, sauté for another minute; arrange this mixture over the greens on phyllo.
Top with the glazed walnuts, scatter throughout.
Release the phyllo shell from the tart pan, slice into wedges.
Serve with additional dressing for those who wish to add more.