This is one of my favorite fall salads. I believe I first saw a similar recipe in Gourmet a few years ago. This is a deconstructed salad, relying on a few really great ingredients to show off its true colors. I have to say that I had to resort to Whole Foods Honeycrisps because I used my own personal supply of Ohio Honeycrisps for the Sunday Supper guests (lucky you!); the Whole Foods apples were a real letdown. I don't remember how much they were, but I feel cheated. They don't even compare to the Wayward Seed Farm honeycrisps I served at the dinner, which were great. Just be warned.
As with all oils, but especially those made from nuts, hazelnut oil can go off rather quickly and should always be refrigerated; they should always be sold in a very dark container as light can also affect the flavor. These types of oils are expensive, and the money should always be spent on the real thing, so buy hazelnut oil, not "hazelnut flavored oil." Although the price might seem high at first, a little goes a long way, and a few drops of walnut, hazelnut, or especially pumpkin seed oil on top of lots of autumn or winter dishes will really give the dish a pop of flavor. These oils are never used for cooking, because that would be a total waste. Instead, they are finishing oils. I used this brand.
I tend to make lazy vinaigrettes out of oil and vinegar only, occasionally adding a little good Dijon mustard for emulsifying purposes. I'm not really one for big emulsions or dragging out the blender or anything. I use a fork and usually salt the greens rather than the vinaigrette. Of course, this is just my opinion.
Typically, I like to use the sort of smoked trout which is sold in plastic along with the smoked salmon in a grocery store (of course, Freshwater Farms of Ohio makes an amazing smoked trout, which I highly recommend; unfortunately I haven't had time to go to Urbana lately). However, I was limited to the Whole Foods on Lane Ave, and they don't stock smoked trout, so I used some from a tin from Trader Joe's (it's pretty good, although packed in oil and different from the drier kind; I usually mix it with some Wishwell Farms hot relish and eat it at work for a snack - it only has 90 calories per tin).
Okay, I think those are enough caveats! Now the recipe.
Smoked Trout Salad with Hazelnut Vinaigrette - per serving
1/2 pound smoked trout
1/2 apple of a tart variety, such as Honeycrisp or Granny Smith, sliced very thinly
handful of hazelnuts or walnuts, toasted lightly in a dry pan until fragrant
1 ounce dry, salty, and delicious blue cheese, such as Stilton or Valdeon (pictured; a cow & goat's milk cheese from Spain which is wrapped in grape leaves before aging) Rogue River blue is also amazing but wildly expensive.
handful baby greens
1/2 tbsp hazelnut oil & vinegar
1/2 tbsp mild vinegar, such as sherry, champagne, or cider (which I used)
Arrange the trout, apple, and cheese on a plate. Combine the oil and vinegar and lightly dress the greens. Sprinkle a little salt over and place them on the plate. Sprinkle with the nuts and serve!!