Saturday, March 10, 2012
Spring Salad, aka Baby Greens with Strawberries, Oranges, and Carmelized Pecans
I hate naming salads. It seems like you either have to come up with a snappy name (like "Spring Salad") or put every ingredient in the name (like "Baby Greens with Strawberries, Oranges, and Carmelized Pecans). So I went with both. Go figure. Anyway, this week in the Washington DC area we've been having Spring. It's been lovely. 65-70 degrees every day, strong March winds, and lots of daffodils and crocuses and hyacinths blooming in the lawns and borders of everyone's gardens. It's been lovely. Which is why I threw the dinner plan out the window to make something more fitting for the weather. Sometimes you just have to do that. It felt wonderful! So I went to the store and picked up a rotisserie chicken and some strawberries and salad greens, and baked a loaf of artisan bread. It was delicious. This is what Spring tastes like. Winter, consider yourself banished.
3/4 cup pecans
2 T sugar
8 cups baby greens or spring mix lettuces
4 large or 8 medium strawberries, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 mandarin or clementine oranges, peeled, cut in half horizontally, and sectioned (you should have half-sections when you're done)
A small handful of Craisins
2 T herbed chevre (goat cheese), crumbled
Poppy seed dressing
Leftover grilled or Rotisserie Chicken (optional)
Lay out a sheet of parchment or wax paper. In a small nonstick skillet melt the sugar over medium-low heat. For a few minutes it will look like it's not doing anything, then all the sudden it will turn liquid, then will start to brown. Just as it's become liquid but before it's brown, toss the pecans into the melted sugar. Using a spatula, stir until the pecans are coated in the brown carmelly sugar. Pour out onto the wax or parchment paper and let cool for about 15 minutes (you can put it in the fridge to speed it up).
Meanwhile, toss the greens in a serving bowl. Add the strawberries, oranges, chicken (if using), craisins, and chevre. Break up the cooled carmelized pecans and sprinkle on top. Serve with poppy seed dressing.
Serves 4 as a dinner salad, 6-8 as a side salad.