Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Fall Salad with Spiced Pecans

Shallot-Sherry Vinaigrette goes well with Fall Greens, Pear, Creamy Herb de Provence Sheep Cheese, and Spiced Pecans

I have made variations of this salad for many years  -- with fall greens, a pear or an apple, a soft cheese, and spiced toasted pecans.

It has often been the salad we have with Thanksgiving dinner.

This week we had it when Tom made Jacques Pepin's Spicy Leg of Lamb and also roasted
baby new potatoes with the secret ingredient in Don't Tell Roasted Potatoes.

We have had a touch of fall-like weather, which has been a welcome change after such a long hot, humid spell.

Fall Salad with Spiced Pecans
(adapted from Bon Appetit, August 1990)

Serves 4

4 cups mixed greens, washed and dried, torn in bite-sizes
1-2 T. sherry wine vinegar
1/2 t. Dijon mustard
1 small shallot, very finely minced, or grated
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
1 ripe pear, diced into cubes (or apple)
2-3 ounces of crumbly cheese like sheep or goat
1/3 cup spiced pecans (see recipe below)

In the bottom of your salad bowl, add 2 splashes (1-2 T.) of sherry vinegar, the Dijon mustard, the finely minced or grated shallot, and about 1/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil.  Add a little salt, then whisk together until emulsified.  Then adjust by adding a little more olive oil, if it is too vinegary.

On top of the dressing, add the salad greens. Add a generous amount of salt and pepper. Then, add the diced pear, the crumbly cheese, and the spiced pecans.

Toss together, just before serving to be sure the nuts do not get soggy.  Coat all of the leaves of the greens with the dressing, and then serve.

Spiced Pecans

Makes 1/3 cup

1 T. butter
dash of salt
sprinkle of cinnamon
sprinkle of cayenne pepper
dash of hot pepper sauce (Tabasco)
1/3 cup of pecans, chopped

Chop the pecans. (Or buy pre-chopped ones.)

In a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter.  Add the pecans, then the cinnamon, cayenne, hot pepper sauce and salt.  Toss until well coated.

Line the metal tray that comes with the toaster oven, with aluminum foil, then make one layer with pecans.

Very carefully toast the pecans, and stir them along the way to prevent burning.  Mine usually take 3-4 minutes.  Don't turn your back on them.  I have learned the hard way.

Let them cool completely.