Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Spiced Pecan Pear Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

As much of yall know, pumpkin is my favorite fall flavor. But coming in a close second, is maple. It just exudes warmth and coziness; a little welcome into cooler temperatures and hibernation. Combined with dijon mustard to make the dressing on this salad, it is a great mix of rich, spicy, and sweet. The same can be said for the spiced pecans. In fact, I knew The Boy & I would love the pecans, as we had just enjoyed something similar at the taproom of our local brewery. So just to be safe, I doubled the amount of pecans! They make for a delicious snack all on their own.

I love recipes like this, because it’s just like something I could get at a local cafe. Don’t get me wrong I love to eat out, but even more I love being able to save money, and still eat well. One of my Nashville “foodie” friends shared this recipe on her blog, and I knew I needed to make it! Food-wise Beth likes a lot of the same stuff I do, so I was pretty sure this would be a winner. She has great “taste” what can I say?


Spiced Pecan Pear Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

from EatDrinkSmile
Serves 6.


Spiced Pecans:
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup pecan halves

Maple Mustard Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 small shallot, minced
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

8 cups Mixed Salad Greens
6 oz Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
2 Bartlett Pears, cut into 1/4" slices
Black pepper, to taste


Spiced Pecans:
Combine first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl; add oil, and stir. Add pecans and toss until well coated. Bake at 350 on a sheet for 12-15 minutes. (You might want to stir/toss them at the half way point.) Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Whisk all ingredients in a medium bowl, set aside.

Combine salad greens and dressing in a large bowl and toss. Divide salad evenly among 6 plates. Sprinkle each with cheese, pecans, and black pepper. Top with pear slices and serve.

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