Sometimes, I just feel like having a salad Since I had quite a few apples from Farmer’s Market, I brainstormed on how I could use them into a nice salad. I’ve always wanted to caramelize pecans or walnuts and I felt this was a great opportunity. You can of course use raw or toasted pecans instead (or crispy bacon!), but actually caramelizing these was not as bad I thought and despite getting busy with other things, they still ended up tasting delicious For cheese (I “had” to use cheese since cheese makes everything better ), I used some nice sharp cheddar from Cabot leftover from making some cheddar biscuits, but blue cheese would have probably been my second choice.
Ingredients (2 side dish servings):
- 1 smallish head of Boston lettuce, broken into pieces
- 1/2 apple, sliced (I used honey crisp…yum!)
- 1/4 cup pecans
- 1/2 Tb sugar
- 1/4 Tb butter
- 2 – 3 Tb shaved cheddar
- 2 Tb diced onion
- ~ 2 Tb dressing (2 Tb olive oil, 1 Tb apple cider vinegar, 1 Tb agave maple syrup or honey, 1 tsp dijon mustard, salt)
Melt butter over medium high-heat. Add the sugar and pecans. Cook stirring constantly (I may have left it alone from time to time to attend to other tasks ) until the sugar doesn’t look grainy and it turns the caramel color (5-10min). Pour nuts over parchment paper or aluminum foil spreading them so they don’t clump together. Let cool (10 – 15 min). Break the caramel around the pecan pieces. If you stop it too soon and/or use a lower heat setting, the sugar will recrystallize. Of course if you cook it too long it will burn. I found that a good indicator is when the pecans start smelling toasted
Make the dressing by whisking together all the ingredients until homogenized. Adjust the agave maple syrup (or maple syrup or honey) to your tasting. I like my dressings a little vinegary since I find them more refreshing
Place the lettuce in a bowl. Top with the apples, onion and pecans. Shave cheddar and drizzle with dressing. Enjoy!
I served this with Spanish tortilla to make it a more substantial dinner, but I need to work on the appearance of my tortilla before I can post a recipe