Fisher Nuts and Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli Announce ‘‘My Fresh Twist’’ Recipe Contest Winner

Nuts from more than 700 recipe submissions were chopped, diced, and halved with a clear winner rising to the top. Fisher Nuts and Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli have announced the winner of the first-ever “My Fresh Twist” Recipe contest—a Walnut-Bleu Date Vinaigrette Salad, submitted by Lori McLain from Denton, Texas.

Fisher invited consumers from across the US to submit an original recipe featuring nuts at for a chance to win a grand prize trip for two to New York City to meet Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli. Fisher fans voted to select the top ten finalists from more than 700 recipe submissions, and from there the winning recipe was selected by a panel of judges, including Chef Guarnaschelli.

Recipe submissions were judged on their originality, integration of nuts, taste, and visual appeal.

“This salad is deceptively simple. It’s really built around the walnuts instead of just having walnuts in it,” said Guarnaschelli. “The puréed dates in the dressing are a brilliant way to add body and some deep, dried fruit sweetness to a salad dressing. This dressing bolsters the fresh fruit. It leaves the richness and satisfaction factor of this salad in the hands of the walnuts. The salty cheese ties it together, and I really enjoyed the textures and flavors. It’s very creative and easy to make—my kind of recipe!”

“I watched my mom and grandma cook up traditional comfort foods. We had a lot of dishes made with nut meats and dried fruits. I am especially fond of walnuts and dates and find any chance to experiment with them,” said the grand prize winner, Lori McLain. “My salad was inspired by my simple cravings! I love toasting Fisher Nuts to get extra flavor, and then just added a few of my other favorites into the mix.”

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Walnut-Bleu Date Vinaigrette Recipe 


Sesame Date Vinaigrette:

* 6 pitted dates

* 3 tablespoon sesame oil

* 1 teaspoon soy sauce

* 1/4 cup rice vinegar

* 1 tablespoon minced garlic

* 2 tablespoon honey

* 1/4 teaspoon coarse Dijon mustard

* pinch of salt

* pinch of pepper

Salad Topping:

* 6 dates , finely chopped

* 2/3 cup chopped Fisher walnuts

* 1 tablespoon honey

* 1 teaspoon brown sugar

* 1/8 teaspoon salt

Salad Ingredients:

* 6 - 7 cups mixed salad greens of your choice, I used a spring mix with radicchio and romaine included.

* 1/2 pint halved yellow cherub tomatoes

* 1/2 cup crisp Asian pear, peeled and finely chopped

* 4 oz. chopped bleu cheese


In a small food processor or chopper, place dressing ingredients: 6 dates, sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, honey, coarse mustard, salt, and pepper. Blend together until smooth. Place mixture in the fridge while the rest of the salad is prepared.

Place topping ingredients in a medium skillet and stir together over medium-high heat until toasted and sticky. Transfer to a cool cookie sheet and spread out to cool.

Divide salad greens between two large salad plates or 4 small ones. Top with tomatoes and pears. Divide bleu cheese crumbled over the top of each salad. Top each with cooled topping mixture. Drizzle salads with sesame date vinaigrette.