Special Green Salad with Pears, Blue Cheese & Candied Pecans

This salad uses just a few ingredients that delivers the perfect marriage of pears, blue cheese and candied pecans with a delicate balsamic vinaigrette. I serve this whenever we have company for dinner, and it's always a big hit!

The Holiday Food Orgy Aftermath-- Eat more salads like this!
The Holiday Food Orgy Aftermath-- Eat more salads like this!
The Holiday Food Orgy Aftermath-- Eat more salads like this!

PREP TIME

10

minutes

TOTAL TIME

15

minutes

SERVINGS

4

servings

PREP TIME

10

minutes

TOTAL TIME

15

minutes

SERVINGS

4

servings

Ingredients

  • Gourmet Salad Greens (I use a spring mixture of red lettuce, romaine & frisee)

  • 1

    pear, peeled cored and sliced thin

  • 1/2

    cup blue cheese, crumbled

  • 1

    cup candied pecans

  • DRESSING:

  • 3

    parts Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • 1

    part Balsamic Vinegar

  • 1

    teaspoon Dijon Mustard

  • CANDIED PECANS:

  • 1

    cup sugar

  • 1/2

    tablespoon ground cinnamon, or to taste

  • 2

    cups nuts (I use pecans)

  • 1 1/2

    teaspoons vanilla

  • 1/4

    cup water

  • Optional: cayenne pepper, to taste, instead of cinnamon

Directions

Wash, clean and dry fresh salad greens and keep well chilled until ready to serve the salad. To the balsamic vinegar and Dijon vinegar, stream in the EVOO until well emulsified. Taste. Add kosher salt & fresh cracked pepper, if desired. Right before serving, add the sliced pears and drizzle enough dressing to lightly coat the salad greens. Add a few glazed pecans. Glazed pecans: Mix sugar and cinnamon together. Put nuts and sugar mixture in a Nut Roaster Pan (or any kind of nonstick pan and a wide paddle spoon can be used). Stir to mix. Combine vanilla and water in a measuring cup. Add the liquid to glaze/nut mixture in the pan. Place the pan on the burner, on medium high heat. The glaze will begin to turn into a thick liquid; boil gently during the process. Stir contents slowly and continuously, to keep the glaze coating nuts at all times, until the liquid evaporates and nuts are glazed (5 - 10 minutes). When the liquid is evaporated and the handle (or paddle) becomes harder to turn (or stir), the nuts are done. Do not overcook! Remove the pan from burner. Quickly sprinkle a little water over the nuts (about 1 Tablespoon per 2 cups of nuts). The mixture will steam, so keep the hands away until the steam dissipates, to prevent burns. Stir nuts to coat even with the glaze. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, immediately spread the hot nuts on a non-stick paper (parchment paper is best) cookie sheet to cool. Gently separate the nuts with a wooden spoon. Nuts will be very hot -- do not eat until cooled (even though they smell delicious and you will find it very difficult to resist!) To store, be sure nuts are thoroughly cooled and then put in airtight containers. Refrigerate to retain freshness or freeze for future use. You can reheat in a microwave by spreading on a flat plate and heating for 2-4 minutes. Or, on a non-stick cookie sheet, heat for about 7 minutes at 250°F in a conventional oven. To make the glazed pecans, see this recipe on Key Ingredient: http://keyingredient.com/recipes/184511/

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