16 August 2009

"You Can't Win Friends With Salad"

Or can you?

That line is from one of my favourite Simpsons episodes ever - the one where Homer barbecues a pig and irritates Lisa the vegetarian. She brings a salad to the barbecue, and Homer and Bart start a conga line singing, "You can't win friends with salad, you can't win friends with salad".

I made a salad last night for my friend's housewarming party that garnered some pretty decent reviews, so I thought I'd put it here in my first salad-related post.

Baby Greens with Beets, Goat Cheese, and Candied Pecans

Candied Pecans
1/4 cup of butter
2 tablespoons brown or golden sugar
1 tablespoon dark corn syrup
1 cup of plain pecans

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

In a frying pan, melt the butter. As it bubbles, add the sugar and syrup. Stir to combine. Allow to bubble again for about a minute. Add the pecans. Combine well. Empty the frying pan onto a cookie or baking sheet (line it with tinfoil - saves a lot of effort) and spread the mixture out into a single layer. Put in hot oven for 5 minutes or so. Take pan out of oven and stir the mixture around again. Place back in oven for another 3 minutes. Remove from oven. Select one of the pecans with a spoon, allow it to cool, and then test it to see if it has that toasty, sugary flavour. If yes, they're done. If no, put back in oven for another 2 minutes - just don't let it burn. Remove from pan and put on a dish or piece of waxed paper to cool. They're great to snack on, too.

Dressing
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
juice of 1 squeezed lemon, or a scant tablespoon of bottled lemon juice
1 scant teaspoon kosher salt
ground black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon dijon mustard or dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon Herbes de Provence (optional)
sugar to taste (some like dressing more sour, others more sweet - start with a scant teaspoon and keep tasting/adding)

Get your whisk out. Combine olive oil, salt, pepper, mustard, and optional Herbes. Stir. Add lemon juice. Stir. Slowly pour the white wine vinegar into the mixture, whisking the whole time. Whisk until you've fully emulsified the vinegar with the oil. It will look smooth and a bit shiny. Taste it to see if it's sweet or sour enough for your taste. If too sour, add a bit more sugar. If too sweet, add a bit more vinegar or salt.

Salad
1 box organic baby greens mix (also goes under the name of Spring Mix)
1 cup of beets (you can either roast and peel them yourself, or get a can - either are good options, but canned is obviously faster/less likely to stain your clothes or kitchen)
1/3 cup of sliced or diced red onion
1 small log of goat cheese
1/4 cup dried cherries
3/4 cup candied pecans
3/4 cup dressing

Combine it all and serve.

Feeds about 4 as a main (add some chicken or shrimp to balance it out), or 8 as a starter or side dish.

1 comment:

Average Terran said...

Sounds good I'm going to have to try to make it thanks for sharing! I would be truly honored if you gave your poetic advice on my blogs of poetry and if you like follow them I would greatly appreciate it.

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