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 🙂