Gorgonzola Grape Salad
Have you ever been to one of those Brazilian or Argentinian Steak Houses? You know, when you have to prepare yourself days ahead eating light foods so that you can enjoy, or at least get a portion of your money’s worth, at these all-you-can eat Churrascaria restaurants!
Since my return to Florida, I’ve been invited several times out to dine till I die at Texas di Brazil, which is coincidentally located at The Villages of Gulfstream Park, so that once you’re filled up on food, you can stroll all the shops, boutiques and casino. (Feel free to click on the Village link and listen to the music as you read this…just as I am while typing this out!
So, as you may know, Passadors (meat waiters) come to your table with knives and a skewer, on which are speared various kinds of meat, be it beef, pork, filet mignon, lamb, chicken, sausage, fish, or any other sort of local cut of meat. By placing the dining card to ‘green’ these very handsome Passadors will endlessly stop by to fill up your plate with carvings of your choice.
While I absolutely love all the meats, I’m also drawn to their huge seasonal salad bar area. Hard just to call it a “salad” bar as they have such gourmet selections of cheeses, imported Italian salamis, grilled shrimp, marinated peppers, mushrooms, asparagus and olives, sushi, soups and bisques and artisan breads. My favorite though is this gorgonzola grape salad. And, when I find something I love, I have to recreate it at home!
It’s so easy these days to find recipes online and sure enough, I found the recipe created by their Culinary Director, Evandro Cregnato. Then, I saw how much mayo he used!! OMG…this is why I prefer to cook at home, I know exactly what I put into it! Needless to say, I tweaked the recipe, reducing the 1 1/2 cups of mayo to 1/4 cup per 3 cups of grapes, adding in a lemon vinaigrette to replace the remaining mayo.
I also thought a bit of a crunch would be nice….and it so was! I added in some candied walnuts that I made using agave instead of sugar. Preparing just a full cup of these, you will have extra to put out in a small bowl for snacking. They will be gone instantly!
As I was delightfully enjoying my salad, I started to think about having this as an appetizer, and topping it on thinly sliced grilled bread and a bit of arugula, my gorgonzola salad was now a bruschetta appetizer!
Gorgonzola Grape Salad
1 1/2 cups Red Seedless Grapes
1 1/2 cups Green Seedless Grapes
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 -3 tablespoons Lemon Vinaigrette, see below
1/4 cup Candied Walnuts, see below
3/4 cup Gorgonzola Cheese, crumbled
In a large bowl, combine the grapes, mayo and lemon vinaigrette and gorgonzola cheese. Mix well and refrigerate until serving. Add in the candied walnuts when serving to maintain their crispness. Makes about 3 cups, serving about 4 sides.
Using 1 or 2 organic lemons, combine about 1 teaspoon of the lemon zest with about 2 1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Add in 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Whisk together well and then drizzle in about 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, whisking well to combine completely.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine about 1 cup walnut halves in a small saucepan with enough water to cover them. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer for about 3 minutes. Drain and add in about 2 tablespoons of agave and a pinch of salt to the hot walnuts and saucepan, stirring well to combine. Place the walnuts on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for about 5 -10 minutes, watching closely so they don’t burn. Remove from the oven and allow to cool, breaking up any big clumps. Refrigerate quickly so you don’t eat them all!!
(For a bit of seasonal taste, or spice, not necessarily for this recipe, vary adding in different seasonings with the agave such as cinnamon/cloves or cayenne.)
I love being in the kitchen. Early mornings, soft music, a hot espresso. Easing into the preparation of delicious meals. Glancing through cookbooks, gathering inspiration and planning my day. I look forward to the cycles of the seasons, the pleasures of tasting and savoring and sharing this with those dear to me. Weekends are special to me as my week days are often rushed, but still I create the ambiance, light the candles, set the table and uncork the wine.
Lots of delicious snacks.
Well, well, well, if that is not a post near and dear to my heart, I don’t know what it would be 😉
Back when I lived in Brazil, going to a rodizio churrascaria was something pretty special, maybe a twice-per-year event, usually around the holidays.
Some places are better than others, and you are right, the “salad bar” is usually almost as good as the meat itself… 🙂
Well, well, I was thinking of you as I wrote this!! I agree, its not a restaurant to frequent often, as I mentioned, I was invited twice in just a few months, and probably wont be there until next year! I’ve only gone to this one, so I cannot compare, but the meat was extremely tender and delicious. I’ve been of course, to Brazilian Restaurants, not all you can eat type, and have never been disappointed in their meats!!
Judy @Savoring Today
I have been to such a restaurant (is that some happy hip-movin’ music or what?!) and you are right, it’s an eat-for-days kind of place (forget wearing any kind of pants with a zipper).
This salad couldn’t be more perfect — I am so with you on swapping out some of the mayo for the lemon vinaigrette, a welcome tang to balance the sweet grapes. Good texture, sweet, and a little funky. Love it!
lol, yes, loose clothing is necessary when dining there!
The Vegan 8
I’m not a fan of grapes unless it’s grape juice or jelly, haha, but I’m loving the candies walnuts and lemon vinaigrette! I would put that on everything. I absolutely love lemons!
Not a grape person? guess you could try apples, as it sorta reminded me of a Waldorf salad!
Those restaurants are fairly new here and are steadily gaining in popularity. I love them but like you say, you tend to eat more than you should. I have never seen a salad bar in any of these restaurants though so I tend to eat meat, meat and more meat. I love the look of the gorgonzola salad. Blue cheese and grapes are such a winning combination. And I’m glad you cut back on all that mayo as surely that would detract from the gorgonzola flavour. I love the look of your candied walnuts – I must make some xx
I think they play up on the salad bar to entice their customers to eat their fill at the salad bar! It’s all in balance and certainly not the type of restaurant to frequent often.
I love gorgonzola. Not sure when I switched from the ‘hate blue cheese’ to ‘love blue cheese’ camp but there’s definitely no going back! The combination of blue cheese with walnuts and grapes is to-die-for. Thanks for reinterpreting this mayonnaise-laden salad for us to enjoy it looks divine! x
I can’t wait for my daughter to make that switch! She limits the dishes I can make when she’s around and I absolutely love gorgonzola!
Do I ever love the sound of this, Linda. It’s that sweet and salty combination that gets me every time. I like, too, you modifications. I think a bit of lemon flavoring would go quite well and is preferable to having too much mayo. Those candied walnuts were a great idea, too. This would make a great salad for T-day. Thanks, Linda.
Thanks John, I love the sweet and salty mix too…and add in the gorgonzola and you’ve got me every time!!
Have never been to a restaurant like that but I know I’d love it and come waddling out like a big barrage balloon! Beautiful recipe – grapes, cheese and nuts go so well together. I sometimes mix natural yogurt with mayo when I make similar dishes to reduce the amount of mayo a little – it works well and doesn’t affect the taste or texture.
Great tip Tanya! I’m going to try the yogurt next time.
Oh, Yes Please! That looks Thanksgiving-Ready!
It’s been years since we went to a Brazilian Barbeque place, but you described it spot-on! Might have to check and see if there’s still one in the area 🙂
They are very popular in South Florida but I’m sure there are some in every state. I think this would be a refreshing bite to mingle in with all the Tday dishes!
Maureen | Orgasmic Chef
We don’t have one of those restaurants here. I should check to see if they have one in Brisbane but I doubt it. Your salad is calling me though – I love all the bits in there!
Every bite is full of different flavors! I think you will enjoy this Maureen!
Oh this looks delicious!! My boyfriend and I went to our first Brazilian steak house earlier this year and we absolutely loved it!! We still talk about it all of the time and can’t wait to go back. My favorite part was the salad bar. Omg, I was in heaven! He was in heaven with the meat selection, it was perfect for us! I don’t recall having this dish, but I certainly want to try it! It was a great idea to use it as a bruschetta!
Every meat and potato man seems to love these restaurants! And, like you, I favor the salad bar. Guess you will have to try this out at home since you’ve not seen it at your restaurant!
Impressive and I like the way you swapped sugar for agave 😉
It was the first time I tried that with candied walnuts and I was very pleasantly surprised it worked so well!! I don’t think I will ever go back to sugar!
I am so going to make this as a for dinner party this weekend! Now just need a nice bottle of red to go with it!
Glad to hear you are back in Florida! Hoping one day my hubby and I can move to FL, I just love the sunny weather! Keep up the posts, though I don’t always respond – due to time with my kids, I always find time to read your recipes. Just love them!
Hi Lisa, Nice to hear from you too! Honestly, while I was raising my kids with all the running around we do, sports, etc., blogging would be the last thing I’d have time to do! I’m impressed with all the young moms who do fit time in! I think living in Florida keeps me fit, always able to get outside, while colder weather to me keeps me inside cuddled under a blanket on the couch!
Karen (Back Road Journal)
Cheese, grapes and nuts are always a great combination and you salad sounds terrific…especially after you lightened it up.
Thanks Karen – and add in a glass of red wine as Lisa mentioned, and those combinations also make my favorite appetizer!!
Amy @ Elephant Eats
This looks so yummy! Reminiscent of waldorf salad, which is one of my faves.
Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen
I’ve just pinned this one on Pinterest to try! I have never had a salad like this before and would love this for dinner tonight! I am so glad you figured out how to take all the mayo out of it for us, that sounded way too rich they way they had it! And this way I can eat more:D xx
Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl
If I took these to a get together I know they would make everyone’s mouth water with happiness!
Your gorgonzola grape salad looks amazing, and I must give it a try. I’m always looking for new ways to make a salad and this one is perfect! And how creative and healthy to use the Agave to candy your walnuts instead of sugar. I’ll bet it adds and interesting little flavor, too. Thanks for the ideas, Linda!
Love it! like a twist on a Waldorf salad. Blue cheese and grapes? Can’t Miss!
This is so stunning, fresh and different. I love this and can’t wait to use it for a party. I really appreciate that you Linda’d it and made it lighter and fresher. You’re the best!