Thursday, June 07, 2012

Strawberry Pecan Salad

At the BBQ this past weekend our friend Stephanie brought the most delicious salad.  It was super simple, fresh, Summery, and chock full of amazing candied pecans.  When we’d all stuffed ourselves with chicken and corn, we still stood at the counter and cleaned out this salad bowl one strawberry slice at a time.

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On Monday morning, my first item of business was to get her recipe.  Turns out it was even simpler than I had imagined!

Steph’s Strawberry Salad

  • 1 head of lettuce, chopped
  • 1 pint of strawberries, sliced
  • 1 heaping handful (1 cup) candied pecans
  • Raspberry Vinaigrette to taste
  • optional: 1 small log of goat cheese, crumbled

That’s it!  Just toss it all together and serve in a pretty bowl!

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Being as I was sent home with a huge bag of beautiful fresh garden greens and there was a pint of strawberries sitting in my fridge just waiting to be eaten I knew exactly what to make for dinner.  Since I didn’t have any Raspberry Vinaigrette on hand, I got to work creating a tasty homemade dressing to make the salad my own.

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Roasted Strawberry Vinaigrette

Yields approx 250 ml dressing.  All measurements eyeballed.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups thawed frozen strawberries (juice reserved)
  • 1 tsp + 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp + 2 tsp honey
  • juice and zest of one lemon
  • pinches of sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup light olive oil, canola oil, or grapeseed oil
  • water to thin
  • fresh basil to serve

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with foil, turning the edges up to keep juices from running.
  2. Toss thawed strawberries with 1 tsp balsamic vinegar and 1/2 tsp honey.  Arrange on baking sheet.  Bake 15 minutes.
  3. Once cooked, the strawberries will be broken down to approximately 1/2 cup of mush.  Scrape from baking sheet into a side dish and let cool.
  4. In a blender or food processor mix roasted strawberry mush, 1 tbsp balsamic, 2 tsp honey, lemon juice and zest, s&p, and any remaining juice from thawed strawberries.  Add water as necessary to thin.
  5. With blender on low speed, slowly drizzle oil into mixture until combined.
  6. Transfer mixture to sealable container. Refrigerate until ready to use.  To serve: shake dressing, thin with water and/or extra lemon juice and add chopped fresh basil.

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It was all I could do to let this sit in the fridge all afternoon before diving face first into my dinner salad.  The combo was light and refreshing but still hearty enough to pair with a simple pesto grilled cheese sandwich to make a filling meal.  Having said that, I made enough salad for two nights and demolished all of it in one sitting…it was that yummy! 

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It definitely had something to do with the candied pecans.  Ohhhh lordy!  Those candied pecans are like crack for salad.  Beware. 

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Homemade Candied Pecans

  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Toss everything together in a non-stick skillet over medium heat.  As the butter melts, the sugar will incorporate and begin to glaze the pecans.  Stir until glaze begins to thicken.  When pecans begin to brown, remove from heat and let stand until slightly cooled. 
  2. Add to salad still warm, don’t burn your tongue eating them from the pan, and store in an airtight container in the fridge if you can resist eating the whole batch in one fell swoop.

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Conveniently one bigass salad only required 1/3 of the vinaigrette so it looks like I’ll just have to procure some more fresh strawberries and whip up another batch of pecans so I can make more salad for the other 2/3 of the dressing.  Oh the things I do. 

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4 comments:

Lynn said...

Looks delish! I make something similar with candied almonds instead of pecans. But I'm making it with pecans next time now!

rusty61 said...

That looks amazing!

Campinggirl said...

I love salads that have strawberries or watermelon in them! Summer food rocks!

Tamara said...

I love your elevated culinary terminology: strawberry mush is the finest ingredient :)

And your tips aren't bad either "don't burn your tongue eating candied pecans straight from the pan". I would so do that!