The walnuts are cooked in a simple syrup until tender, and then quickly fried until crisp.
For the dressing, in a medium bowl, whisk all of the ingredients until smooth. Season with a pinch of fine sea salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
For the candied walnuts, in a medium saucepan, bring the sugar and 2 cups water to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the walnuts and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and the edges of the walnuts are slightly translucent, about 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the nuts to a paper towel to dry.
Pour enough oil into a large saucepan to measure about 2 inches. Heat over medium until a deep-fry thermometer registers 300°. Using a slotted spoon and working in 4 batches, add the walnuts to the oil and fry until golden brown, 45 to 60 seconds per batch. Using the slotted spoon, transfer the nuts to a wire rack. Sprinkle with the flaky sea salt and let cool.
For the salad, in a large bowl, toss the lettuce, three-quarters of the cheese, three-quarters of the cranberries, three-quarters of the chives, and three-quarters of the walnuts. Drizzle some of the dressing over and use your hands to toss, adding more dressing as desired. Season with salt. Top with the remaining cheese, cranberries, chives, and walnuts.