Walnut, Orange & Feta Ensemble

  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 10 mins


3/4cup (4 oz.) crumbled feta cheese
2teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
-- Low-fat milk, if needed
1/2cup California walnuts, toasted & finely chopped
3ounces thinly sliced pancetta
2large seedless oranges
1/2cup balsamic vinegar
1-2tablespoons olive oil
-- For assembling the salads
3-4large handfuls (6 - 7 cups) mache lettuce, or mixed greens
1/4cup extra virgin olive oil
2tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1/2teaspoon salt, to taste
1/4teaspoon pepper, to taste


  1. In a small bowl, blend the feta cheese and thyme.  If the feta is too crumbly to hold together, beat in a teaspoon or two of milk.
  2. Shape the feta into eight disks, about 1 1/2 inches across.   Roll them in walnuts, pressing gently so the nuts adhere and the disks are coated on all sides.  Place on a plate and set in the freezer for about 30 minutes. 
  3. In a skillet, cook the pancetta for 5 – 7 minutes, turning and stirring the slices often, until lightly browned.   Transfer to paper towels to drain, leaving any rendered fat in the skillet.  As the pancetta cools, it will become crisp.  Crumble the slices coarsely. 
  4. Section the orange segments by using a sharp knife to slice the peel from the oranges cutting deeply enough to remove the white skin and membrane; then carefully cut the orange flesh from between each segment. 
  5. In a small nonstick skillet, boil the balsamic vinegar until it has reduced to about 1/4 cup.  Watch it like a hawk, this happens quickly.  Pour the reduced vinegar into a small cup and set aside.  
  6. Film a nonstick skillet with the olive oil and place over medium-high heat.  When the pan is hot, cook the walnut-coated feta disks about 2 minutes on each side, to brown them lightly.  Transfer to a plate. 
  7. To assemble the salads, you will need 4 large plates, preferably rectangular or oblong, although round dinner plates will work, too. 
  8. In a large bowl toss the mache with the olive oil and chives, and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Divide the greens among the plates, placing them to one side.  Divide the crumbled pancetta among the plates, placing it in the center.  Top the pancetta with the orange sections.  Place two walnut feta disks on the other side of the plate.  Drizzle a tablespoon of reduced balsamic vinegar over each plate. 

Nutritional Info *per serving

  • Calories 520
  • Glycemic Load 0
  • Fat 42g
  • Saturated Fat 10g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 10g
  • Monounsaturated Fat 20g
  • Cholesterol 50mg
  • Sodium 1110mg
  • Potassium 520mg
  • Carbohydrate 21g
  • Fiber 4g
  • Sugars 16g
  • Protein 16g
  • Trans Fat 0g
  • Vitamin A 20%
  • Vitamin C 90%
  • Calcium 25%
  • Iron 10%