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Irish Oatmeal Salad?

Really? Irish oatmeal in a salad?? I thought that seemed very odd but I have to say it made a little bit of a change from using other grains in a salad. Irish oats (or steel-cut oats) have that little bit of nutty taste so they really added some flavor to the salad.

The original recipe called this Waldorf Salad with Steel-Cut Oats, I'm thinking this is pushing it a bit. According to the web of knowledge (wikipedia), Waldorf Salad is usually made with apple, walnuts, celery, and has a mayonnaise dressing. So I'm thinking nice try but in my mind this has about as much in common with Waldorf Salad as a pasta salad. The original recipe only had 2 (walnuts and apple) of the 4 above mentioned ingredients. But it was good nonetheless.

Irish Oatmeal Salad (Adapted from Cooking Light circa 2011)

1 c steel-cut oats
1-1 1/2 c water
pinch of kosher salt
2/3 c walnuts (I used sliced almonds)
1T honey
3 T  olive oil
2 T white balsamic vinegar
salt/pepper
1 1/2 c red lettuce
1 1/2 c granny smith or golden delicious apple, diced
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 1/2 c red grapes, halved
1/2 c crumbled blue cheese

Rinse oats (this takes away some of starch). Combine oats, 1c water, salt in a saucepan. Bring water to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 7 minutes. If oats are not yet tender and the water is evaporated, add additional water. Remove from heat. Let sit 10 minutes if you can spread them out to cool that would be ideal.

Meanwhile in a skillet combine walnuts (or almonds) and cook until nuts are fragrant and honey is slightly caramelized. Stirring occasionally. Set aside.

In a small bowl add salt/pepper, vinegar and drizzle in olive oil while whisking. Set aside.

In a serving bowl place lettuce, top with oats, apples, celery, grapes and blue cheese. Add dressing and toss well.

This may look like it is a lot of steps but you are making the dressing and caramelizing the nuts while the oats are cooking so it really comes together pretty fast. The original recipe did not use celery (and they call themselves a Waldorf Salad??). They also used sherry vinegar and I found I needed to add some honey to the dressing because it was a little too acidy for me.  So the white balsamic is a better choice. They also used radicchio but the store didn't have any so I opted for the red lettuce instead. I think the radicchio might have been a little too bitter here. I think I cut the apples a little too big.

You can also make the Irish oats ahead of time and refrigerate. Just make sure you reheat them to room temperature. You can pop them in the microwave for a few seconds. I don't think cold oats would taste that good. This was really perfect for a nice hot day - which boy have we had quite a few humid yucky days.

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