This recipe should really be titled, My Favorite Salad Ever. I love, love, love this salad. I made it for the first time for Christmas dinner and have come back to it again and again. You can make the components ahead of time and just throw together this salad at the last minute right before you are going to serve it. While there are a few different pieces to this salad, and the ingredient list does look sort of long, it is totally easy to make and you probably have everything on hand. This salad is a perfect first course without a protein on it and a filling dinner with one. Maybe some bread on the side?
For the pecans:
6 ounces pecan halves
2 Tablespoons melted butter
3 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
a pinch of cayenne pepper
1/3 cup cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
To make the salad:
1 (10 ounce) package baby spinach
1 Gala or Fuji apple thinly sliced
1 small red onion thinly sliced
1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Toss the pecan in all the melted butter with the remaining ingredients. Toss to coat the pecans completely. Spread the nuts on a foil lined cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 13 minutes. Cool and set aside. I use half for the salad and snack on the rest. You can make these a few days ahead of time and keep them in an airtight container. Hide them so that some actually make it on the salad.
Put all of the vinaigrette ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake until combined. Dressing done. You can make this a few days ahead of time also. Keep it in the fridge until you are ready to use it. This makes a lot of dressing. Use about 1/4 and go from there when dressing your salad.
Put everything into the bowl. Season the leaves with a little salt and fresh black pepper. Toss with 1/4 of the dressing.
On this particular evening, I made this a dinner salad. I marinated the chicken in some of the dressing with about a Tablespoon of curry powder whisked in. I wanted the flavor of the chicken to mirror the flavors of the nuts. We grilled the chicken and sliced it on the bias. I drizzled a little more dressing on the top of the grilled chicken. Looking at these pictures again are making me very hungry.
My favorite dinner salad. Make one and share it with somebody that you like having around, because they will be back around.