Today I’m presenting to you my one and only, ever, NEVER to happen again…we hope… $200 Salad! Allow me to explain. For the last few years we have not had a garden. Mars wanted to build me these nice tall garden boxes so that I wouldn’t have to bend over and hurt my back. (He’s just awesome like that!) I was in! Sounded great to me! We had the lumber and he did, in fact, build me 5 beautifully tall garden boxes. However, as summer ticked by last year, we ran out of time to fill the boxes with soil and plant a garden. This year I was determined I was going to have my garden! So we filled the boxes, bought plants and seeds and went to work. At first I thought we had done something wrong. The entire garden was doing horribly. Then I heard from others their gardens were doing just as badly. So, they ONLY thing that was grown thus far is the lettuce you see in this one salad! Thus the $200 lettuce in said salad! I figure it’s like the $500 a pound deer meat men folks in these parts proclaim as “necessary”!
On the bright side, if any salad had to cost $200 a plate this would be the one! Years ago I was searching for a new salad recipe for Thanksgiving dinner. I finally ran across one on All Recipes.com that sounded amazing! So, I gave it a try. When I say this is one of my all time favorite salads, it is not an exaggeration. The flavor combination is incredible!!! Out of this world incredible!!!
This salad has all the components of a great salad. It has rich leafy greens, flavor gaaaaa-lore, fruity sweet pears, tangy blue cheese crumbles and it’s loaded with crunchy candied pecans. (Oh those candied pecans! Hold on to your seats folks!) As if all of that weren’t enough to send your taste buds in to overtime, it’s brought together with an amazing mustard garlic vinaigrette dressing.
I’m going to start off with those candied pecans, because truthfully they are the most intimidating part of this salad. They really aren’t that difficult. I do these a little different from the original recipe, but I like how they turn out better. The nuts make this salad! Truly, they do! So, we are going to begin with a small skillet heating up over medium low heat. In the pan pour 1/4 cup granulated sugar and shake to even it out in the pan like so…
Leave the pan over the heat and do nothing! That’s right … “Nothing”…don’t stir it, don’t shake it, don’t move it. Avoid the temptation…and you will be tempted. (I speak from experience! I want to do it every time! lol) In a few minutes the sugar will begin to melt. Just like in the picture below. Continue to watch the pan so that the sugars don’t burn.
After several minutes your sugar will look like this. At this point it is okay to stir it a little bit to incorporate those last little stubborn stragglers who don’t want to join the melting party!
Add in a 1/2 cup of pecan halves and stir quickly to coat. They won’t coat perfectly and that’s just fine and dandy! It will be good enough!
Once coated pour onto wax paper and allow to cool. After they have cooled you can place them in a zip lock bag or fold the wax paper over and break them into smaller bite size pieces. (Tip: Using a meat tenderizer is a great way to break up candied nuts and get a little free therapy in the process!) You don’t want big chunks, but nice bite size pieces.
Next slice three pears. You can chop them if you want or just slice them like I did. It may depend on how you choose to serve the salad. The choice is up to you. I found these beautiful red Bartlett pears this past weekend at a little local fruit stand and they are so sweet and juicy, yet the meat is firm not mushy! (It was pear perfection!) You can use Bartlett pears or any “in season” pear you like.
You will also need to peel, pit, and dice your avocado. I just slice my avocado and lay it next to the pear, but again, this is your presentation so do what suits your entertaining style and needs best. You will need a 1/2 cup of thinly sliced green onions and 1 head of leafy lettuce. Red, green, or spring mix, your choice, torn into bite-size pieces.
Mix your dressing up by combining your olive oil, vinegar, sugar, mustard, chopped garlic, salt and black pepper. Whisk it all together and set aside for a minute while you finish preparing the rest of the salad.
If doing individual plated servings…place a handful of your greens on your individual serving plate, then layer your pear and avocado slices. Sprinkle each salad with thinly sliced green onions and blue cheese. Drizzle with the mustard garlic dressing (you may need to mix it again if it is separating). Top the salad off with a healthy sprinkling of the candied pecans.
If you choose to do one big salad you will fill your bowl with your choice of greens, top with chopped pears, avocado, green onions and blue cheese. Drizzle the entire salad with the vinaigrette dressing and sprinkle with the 1/2 cup of candied pecans.
I hope you can see how beautifully this salad presents! Don’t let that stop you from making it for lunch…”Serving for one please”. It’s easy enough to do! This is one of those times I wish I could offer “taste samples”! The sweet of the candied pecans and fruity pears blended with the tang of the blue cheese and the vinaigrette dressing just compliment each other perfectly. Add in the creaminess of the avocado and the additional flavor of the onions and this is one luscious salad. Perfect for the Holidays or any Fall dinner.
This is a seasonal salad with the addition of the pears. Pears and Apples are just coming into their peak right now. I always feel they are the “nod off to summer”! I know you can find them in the markets year round but, they are truly in their glory now. You can make this salad a meal all by itself, but it is a beautiful salad to serve with any special dinner.
The free printable is below. Thanks for stopping by my little Nest! Remember you can always follow me on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook all under “Norine’s Nest”. I absolutely love hearing from my readers and it makes my day when you send me emails and messages to let me know you are trying my recipes! I hope this is one you will enjoy trying too. Have a Great Weekend! Enjoy a meal with your family!
Much Love From My Nest to Yours!