Foodie Friday – Berry Salad with Candied Pecans

Posted in Foodie Friday, Main at 6:38 pm by carrie

It’s the Summer to Fall transitional salad (since it’s still been so warm lately!) ;) I’m making enough for 4 people here…

What you’ll need:

  • Sugar
  • Pecan Halves
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberry vinaigrette (or any vinaigrette… really)
  • Baby romaine lettuce or spring mix – two small boxes or one big box (Earthbound Farm, etc)
  • Gorgonzola cheese – one small tub
  • Ground black pepper (optional)

We’ll make the candied pecans first. Now… these things get HOT… anything where sugar is melting is HOT and a tad dangerous, so please be careful!

Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil first, and have it ready.

I’ve seen pecan to sugar ratios anywhere from 8:1 to 1:1. I sort of did 4 cups pecans to 2 cup sugar… how sweet you want it is up to you. Some people add butter, olive oil and even a smidge of balsamic vinegar… but I kept it simple. Put your pecans and sugar in a deep-ish non-stick skillet and get a wooden spoon ready to go. Fire it up to low-medium heat and stir constantly!!

Keep everything moving… the sugar should start melting and turn into drops of brown goo… like so:

Keep it moving! Get all the pecans coated and all the granulated sugar should disappear:

Then, spread them on that cookie sheet to cool for about 30 minutes:

So really… the rest is just prep, cutting, cleaning and assembling because there isn’t any more actual cooking involved! Hooray!

Clean your berries… and cut up your strawberries:

Get a big bowl and put your salad leaves into it. Get your raspberry vinaigrette ready and dump about… oh, 1/4 – 1/2 cup or so (more or less depending on your taste) over all the lettuce and toss carefully using tongs. I used two different kinds of raspberry vinaigrette… one from Trader Joe’s and one from our local grocery store, Harris Teeter. I found that the TJ’s had a slighter sweet taste and the HT’s was more tart… it was a good mix!

To assemble… I used the tongs to get a heaping helping of dressed lettuce onto the plate. I then placed the strawberry slices and blueberries all around the outside of the lettuce. I then put the candied pecans on top in the middle… you may need to break them up a bit with your hands. After this, I placed a generous amount of Gorgonzola cheese on top. Sprinkle with fresh ground pepper, if desired.

This is a great salad and those pecans really make it super amazing! Make enough pecans to snack on later because they are addicting (and they are better than most trick-or-treat candy out there!) ;)

I’ve seen other variations of this salad… making the pecans with brown sugar, making them spicy pecans, using walnuts instead. And you can use spinach instead of greens, add mango, apples or pears… some avocado, a different cheese etc etc. The internet is full of different recipes, check it out :)

Have a fabulous weekend!!!!

1 Comment »

  1. Alicia said,

    November 3, 2010 at 8:23 am

    I got to enjoy this salad and it’s sooooo good! I could use maybe a hair sharper balsamic dressing, but I really love a really sharp dressing with the fruit/nut thing.

    mmmm, I’m hungry for it again!

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