Oregon chefs shell out recipes

Beet and Chile Salad with Walnut Pesto

Recipe by David Sapp (Park Kitchen, Portland)

“This autumn dish highlights the nutty splendor of walnuts in pesto form to create a comforting and complex dish.”

Wine Pairing: Bethel Heights 2013 Estate Pinot Noir

Yield : 6 to 8 servings

3 pounds assorted beets (red, yellow, Chioggia)
1 pound chiles (red and green, such as Gypsy, Alma, Sweet Italian, Poblano, Anaheim)
* salt

1 cup olive oil blend (half extra-virgin olive oil, half canola oil)
1 cup garlic, sliced
* zest of 2 lemons (colored part only), finely grated
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups walnuts, toasted just past light brown, coarsely chopped

1 preserved lemon, cut into small pieces (sold in condiment aisle in high-end markets)
½ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup white wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
¼ cup water
1½ cups canola oil
1½ cups olive oil

4 leaves each assorted chicories (dandelion, radicchio, escarole, Belgian or curly endive)
2 heaping tablespoons walnut pesto
1 tablespoon preserved lemon vinaigrette
¼ cup walnuts, toasted, coarsely chopped


  1. Beets: Heat oven to 375°F.
  2. Separate leaves and stems; reserve for another use.
  3. Wash beets and season liberally with salt. Place beets in covered baking dish with 1/4 inch of water in bottom. Bake for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until you can pierce easily with a knife.
  4. Peel beets and cut into mouth-friendly wedges that can fit on fork tines. Chill and reserve.
  5. Chiles: Roast or grill chiles over open flame so skins are charred all over. Seal in ziplock bag to steam while they cool. When cooled, peel skins and remove seeds. Cut into fork-friendly 1-inch equilateral triangles.
  6. Walnut Pesto: Toast walnuts in oven or on stovetop until fragrant and just past light brown. Set aside.
  7. In pan on stovetop, toast garlic slices and lemon zest in olive oil blend until garlic is barely browned. Add chili flakes; as soon as they “bloom” (release their aroma), remove pan from heat.
  8. In food processor bowl, combine contents of pan with salt and toasted walnuts. Pulse for a few seconds, several times, until coarsely ground. Note: Refrigerate leftover pesto (up to 3 weeks) and use with pasta.
  9. Preserved-Lemon Vinaigrette: In food processor bowl, blend lemon pieces, lemon juice, vinegar, sugar, chili flakes and about half the water until well combined. On high speed, slowly drizzle in canola oil. Finish emulsification by slowly adding olive oil and remaining water. Note: Refrigerate leftover vinaigrette (up to the 3 months) and use with any green salad.
  10. Assembly: Put all salad ingredients in large mixing bowl. Toss gently. Serve.

Additions: Add croutons for a delicious lunch salad; add shaved hard cheese for a savory dimension; add sliced salami if you crave protein. | 503-223-7275


Wal-Nutty Facts

The walnut holds the distinction of being the oldest known tree food, as our ancestors have been eating them since 7000 B.C.

English walnuts originated in ancient Persia, where they were reserved for royalty only.

The black walnut is the tallest variety of walnut tree. The U.S. national champion black walnut is on a residential property in Sauvie Island, Oregon. It is eight feet, seven inches in diameter (at breast height) and 112 feet tall, with a crown spread of 144 feet.

With the shell shaped like a human skull and the kernel resembling a brain, walnuts have always been regarded as “brain food.” Recent studies have proven that they do promote brain function because of their Omega-3 fatty acid content.

The walnut is hailed as the most heart-friendly nut. It contains significant amounts of alpha linoleic acid or ALA, a type of Omega-3 fatty acid that helps prevent blood clots and lowers the risk of ischemic heart disease. Health experts recommend consuming eight walnuts a day for the maintenance of cardiovascular health.

If you want to preserve the taste of a walnut, do not shell it. Oxygen in the atmosphere will turn the oils in the nut rancid and spoil it.

Walnut-Crusted Chinook Salmon

Recipe by Harald Gruetzmacher (La Rambla, McMinnville)

“I love the contrast in textures that the nuts bring.”

Wine Pairing: The Eyrie Vineyards 2014 Pinot Gris

Yield: 4 servings


4 6-ounce salmon fillets
1 cup walnuts
2 tablespoons San Simon cheese (could substitute with smoked Gouda)
3 teaspoons lemon zest
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon Piment d’Espelette


  1. In food processor, pulse walnuts until crumbed. Grate cheese.
  2. By hand, combine walnuts, grated cheese, lemon zest, extra-virgin olive oil and Piment d’Espelette.
  3. Place fillets on non-stick baking sheet or parchment paper; firmly coat fillets with walnut mixture. Refrigerate for about an hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake to desired doneness, 8 to 12 minutes.

Side dish suggestion: roasted patty pan squash. | 503-435-2126


Pork Loin with Apples, Walnuts, Sage and Fig Jam

Recipe by Wendy Bennett (Chef/Teacher/Caterer, Dayton)

“Get ready for fall with this fragrant, delicious dish.”

Wine Pairing: Dobbes Family Estate 2014 Grand Assemblage Pinot Noir.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

3 pounds boneless pork loin
½ yellow onion, minced
2 cups apples, diced
1 tablespoon fresh sage leaves, sliced thin
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
6 ounces pork loin, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 egg white
¼ cup sour cream
¼ cup heavy cream
½ cup walnuts, slightly chopped
3 slices prosciutto, sliced thin
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground

½ cup mission figs, diced
¾ cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup red wine
4 cups sugar


  1. Pork Loin: Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. Slice pork loin lengthwise, about ¾ of the way through; open pork loin like a book. Cover pork loin with plastic wrap; pound with meat mallet or sauté pan to slightly flatten.
  3. Meanwhile, in sauté pan over medium heat, melt butter and gently cook onion, apples and sage until soft, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove pan from heat and cool. Set aside.
  4. Place diced pork, egg white, sour cream and heavy cream in food processor; blend until smooth. Add walnuts and apple-onion-sage mixture. Season stuffing mixture with salt and pepper; pulse machine 6 times, or until blended. Do not overprocess.
  5. Remove plastic from pounded pork; season with salt and pepper. Lay prosciutto pieces out in single layer to cover pork. Spread stuffing mixture over prosciutto and roll pork so filling is on inside. Tie pork loin closed with butcher’s twine; season outside with salt and pepper.
  6. Roast on pan with roasting rack in pre-heated oven for approximately 35 to 40 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 135°F.
  7. Remove pork from oven; allow to rest at least 10 minutes before cutting. Serve with fig jam.
  8. Fig Jam: Yields 3 cups. Combine figs, vinegar and wine; cook over medium heat for 30 minutes, or when mixture is reduced by ¼.
  9. Add sugar and cook over medium-low heat until slightly thick. Mixture will thicken when cooled. Keeps under refrigeration for 2 months.

Additional uses: Serve over grilled or roasted meat, or grilled cheese.


Soviet Georgian Kidney Bean and Walnut Salad

Recipe by Matt Bennett (Sybaris Bistro, Albany)

“The excellent side dish does well with grilled or simply roasted chicken. It is also a great salad for potlucks because you can be sure that you won’t see three other bowls of this dish on the table.”

Wine Pairing: Willamette Valley Vineyards 2015 Whole Cluster Pinot Noir

Yield: 6 servings


1 quart cooked kidney beans (canned beans are O.K. if you are in a pinch; just rinse them)
1 bunch cilantro (including stems), roughly chopped
¼ cup verjus or lemon juice
¼ cup fruit-driven Oregon Pinot Noir
1 tablespoon cumin
1 cup olive oil
6 cloves garlic, peeled
1 red onion, finely diced
2 cups toasted walnuts
* salt and pepper, to taste


  1. In a blender, purée cilantro, verjus, wine, cumin, olive oil and garlic.
  2. Combine everything in a good-sized mixing bowl; adjust seasoning.

Note: Salad keeps several days in fridge. | 541-928-8157


Grilled Zucchini Salad with Blue Cheese, Toasted Walnuts and Walnut-Banyuls Vinaigrette

Recipe by Stephanie Pearl Kimmel (Marché/Provisions Market, Eugene)

“This wonderful salad is featured at Marché’s annual Languedoc-Roussillon French Regional Dinner, but it’s also a star on our menu. The mellow, clean flavor of the squash is a great backdrop for the rich banyuls and toasted walnuts. You can easily use other summer squashes, but zucchini is our favorite for this salad.”

Wine Pairing: Merriman 2013 Old Vine The Brasher Block Chenin Blanc

Yield: 4 servings


1 pound green zucchini
¼ pound Rogue Creamery blue cheese
¼ cup walnuts, roughly chopped and toasted
1 teaspoon minced shallot
2 teaspoons banyuls
* pinch salt
* freshly ground black pepper
3 teaspoons walnut oil
3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil


  1. Slice zucchini lengthwise into ¼-inch thick slices; brush with a little olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper and grill over medium heat until cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together banyuls, shallots, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in olive oil and walnut oil to blend.
  3. Toss grilled zucchini with dressing, crumbled blue cheese and toasted walnuts. Taste for seasoning, finish with salt and pepper if you think it needs it and serve. | 541-342-3612


Skate Wing in Nocino

Recipe by John Eisenhart (Nel Centro, Portland)

“Late summer at the market is dodgy. I came up with this dish when I needed something current and alive. In September, black walnuts are everywhere, so I decided on an ‘adult-style’ almandine.”

Wine Pairing: Cristom Vineyards 2013 Jessie Vineyard Pinot Noir

Yield: 1 serving


5 ounces skate wing, trimmed and seasoned with salt, pepper
3 ounces Nocino (liqueur made from unripe green walnuts)
2 ounces shellfish stock
2 ounces black walnuts, crushed finely
1½ ounces cooked black barley
2 ounces olive oil
2 ounces butter, unsalted
* market greens, such as lovage, escarole hearts and wild watercress
1 lemon wedge


  1. Heat oven to 450°F.
  2. Roll one side of skate in walnuts. Using a sauté pan on medium-high heat, add olive oil and butter. When butter froths, add skate and cook on un-crusted side, about 3 minutes. Flip skate and place in oven until cooked, about 4 minutes. Set aside cooked skate and add shellfish stock and Nocino. Reduce by half and add hot liquid to salad bowl.
  3. In mixing bowl, toss market greens, black barley and lemon juice together with a little sea salt and black pepper. Toss together quickly and plate.
  4. Top salad with skate to finish. | 503-484-1099


Spaghetti with Walnuts, Broccoli Rabe, Feta and Fresh Mint

Recipe by Ivy Manning (Cookbook author, Portland)

Recipe adapted from “Weeknight Vegetarian”

“Broccoli rabe (also called rapini) looks like a leggy cousin of broccoli, but it’s actually closer to a turnip green, with the same bitter, assertive bite. In this recipe, I mellow the flavor of the rabe by cooking it briefly in salted water before tossing it with pasta, buttery walnuts, and bold-flavored ingredients like feta and mint.”

Wine Pairing: Cana’s Feast 2013 Barbera

Yield: 4 servings


1 pound broccoli rabe
12 ounces whole grain spaghetti
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
6 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
* salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pinch red chili flakes
1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled feta cheese (the softer and creamier the better)
1 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
1/3 cup mint leaves, chopped


  1. Peel thicker part of rabe stems with sharp vegetable peeler. Cut stems into bite-size lengths and roughly chop greens/florets, keeping them separate.
  2. Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add stems and boil for 1 minute. Add greens/florets and boil until wilted and tender, 3 minutes.
  3. Quickly remove rabe from cooking water with fine mesh sieve or slotted spoon; drain in a colander, shaking off any excess water still clinging to leaves. Save water for cooking pasta.
  4. Return water to a boil; add pasta and cook according to package instructions. Drain pasta, reserving ¾ cup of cooking liquid.
  5. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, 1 minute. Add rabe, chili flakes, and a few pinches of salt and a few grinds of pepper; sauté for 1 minute.
  6. In large serving bowl, toss pasta, broccoli rabe, cheese and walnuts with tongs, adding reserved cooking liquid to moisten pasta if necessary. Garnish with mint and serve immediately.


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