With a passion for cooking with friends and a background including stints at Pizzaiolo and Ramen Shop, Karina Rivera, sous chef at the Bull Valley Roadhouse, brings her own style of sassy camaraderie to the kitchen. Whether running the line, lending a motherly hand to those learning, or standing watch over the restaurant’s standards of excellence, she’s everybody’s friend but nobody’s fool.
½ cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
¾ cup finely diced shallots
2 cups walnuts
1–2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
2 heads fennel
4 heads chicories
½ cup honey
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Lemon juice to taste
1 cup shaved Manchego cheese
In a small bowl, mix red wine vinegar, sherry vinegar, and diced shallots. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350°. Toss walnuts in 1–2 teaspoons olive oil and ½ teaspoon salt, add a splash of water, then spread across a baking sheet or broad sauté pan. Toast for 20 minutes.
While nuts are toasting, beat pomegranate seeds (arils) out of their shells. You do this by cutting the pomegranates in half horizontally, and lightly tapping on the skin with a wooden spoon so the seeds fall out into a large salad bowl. Set aside a handful of seeds for topping the salad.
Cut chicories horizontally into 1-inch strips (or simply pull off leaves and use whole, if you prefer). Place in same bowl with the pomegranate arils. With a mandolin, shave fennel (to the thickness you desire) into the same bowl.
Peel apples and slice to the same thickness as the shaved fennel. Add half of the apple slices to the bowl with the pomegranate, fennel, and chicories, and set the other half aside to toss on top at the end.
Stir honey into the vinegar-shallot salad dressing mix. Finely chop half of the toasted walnuts (almost into a paste) and add them to the dressing. Stirring the dressing vigorously, drizzle in the olive oil until combined. Dress the ingredients in the salad bowl to taste, adding lemon juice and salt as needed. Shave Manchego over salad, sprinkle with reserved apple slices, walnuts, and pomegranate arils. Serve.