Monday, August 03, 2009

Meatless Monday #5: Salad with Candied Pecans and Blueberries

This is one of my favorite I-made-it-up-one-evening-with-what-was-in-the-fridge salads, and it's not as time-consuming as you might think. The dressing is homemade too, and that's waaay less time consuming than you might think.

- lettuce or mixed greens, washed and dried
- a handful of blueberries
- a handful of pecans
- white granulated sugar
- a couple tablespoons of crumbled gorgonzola cheese

Throw the pecans in a cold frying pan and cover them with a generous sprinkling of sugar. Turn on the heat to a low to medium level, and stir as the sugar melts and begins to caramelize. If you have a silicone spatula, that's the ideal implement because it's both non-stick and heatproof. Make sure neither the pecans nor the sugar burn, and once the sugar is melted and has started to brown, turn off the heat. Spread the pecans out to cool on some wax paper. While they're cooling, put the lettuce/greens, blueberries, and gorgonzola in a salad bowl. Then make the dressing.

- one clove of garlic
- 6 or so black peppercorns
- a pinch or two of salt
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- balsamic vinegar
- wine vinegar
- extra virgin olive oil

With a mortar and pestle, crush the garlic, peppercorns, basil and salt together. Then add about a quarter cup of balsamic vinegar. Pour the mixture into a jar or other container with some extra room (and a lid). Add a dash of wine vinegar (mainly to dilute the intensity of the balsamic), and top it off with a quarter cup of olive oil. Put on the lid and shake vigorously. Pour a few tablespoons of the dressing over the salad, add the now-cool pecans, toss, and serve. A nice big bowl of this is more than enough for dinner for me, no "main dish" required!


Jasmine said...

you mention mortar and pestle and I just think that must be too hard. Maybe I need to buy one and see how it can be used

Sneaksleep said...

Oh, they are so easy, and useful for so many things! My mom used mine to make pesto last time she was over, and it's great for crushing nuts, seeds, blending spices--all kinds of stuff! The one I have is wooden, which gives it decent grip. I wouldn't want one where both parts were too smooth, or it would make it pretty hard to use. You should totally get one!