Apple, Caramelized Pecans and Cheddar Salad

Sometimes, I just feel like having a salad πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ˜‰ 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 Β 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.Β 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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ˜‰

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 πŸ™‚

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6 Responses to Apple, Caramelized Pecans and Cheddar Salad

  1. Shira says:

    Sometimes I just feel like having a salad too! I love this combo – the perfect contrasts! Just lovely πŸ™‚

  2. yum, veggie stuff on your blog πŸ™‚

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