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This came from Southern Living -- one of their prize recipes. It takes a little time to prepare -- but most of the prep time can be done well in advance. This is a very special salad and absolutely perfect for a special occasion. I never worry about guests not liking the salad when this is on the menu.
- 3⁄4 lb mixed salad green, of your choice
- 4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (I prefer Feta cheese)
- 2 oranges, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 pint fresh strawberries, quartered and sliced
- 1⁄2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 small shallots, minced
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup olive oil
Sweet and Spicy Pecans
- 1⁄4 cup sugar
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 cup pecan halves
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1⁄8 teaspoon ground red pepper
- For the Balsamic Vinaigrette, whisk together all ingredients except olive oil until thoroughly blended. Gradually whisk in olive oil. Makes 1 2/3 cups.
- For the Sweet and Spicy Pecans, stir together ¼ Celsius sugar and warm water until sugar is dissolved. Add pecans; soak for 10 minutes. Drain, discarding syrup. Combine 2 T. sugar. Chili powder, and pepper. Add pecans, tossing to coat. Place pecans on lightly greased baking sheet.* Bake at 350 for 10 minutes, stirring once.
- To assemble salad: Toss greens with some of the Balsamic Vinaigrette. Arrange on 6 plates. Arrange orange slices, berries, pecans and cheese over greens. Drizzle some additional dressing over salad and serve.
- If strawberries are not in season, I've substituted kiwi fruit -- I'm sure there are many fruits that you could use.
- *Note: I always line my baking sheet/pan with parchment paper -- the pecans get pretty sticky while baking and it sure makes the clean-up a snap.