Apple, Pecan & Craisin Salad with a Sweet Dijon Vinaigrette Dressing
My wife adapted this recipe from one we received with our weekly CSA package of local fruits and vegetables. She basically used “what’s on hand” in our pantry and refrigerator and you can do the same in your house. The dressing is a simple mustard vinaigrette that gets sweetened with the help of a little maple syrup. We also used apple cider vinegar but you could substitute champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar if that’s all you have.
We used a combination of bib lettuce with arugula because that’s what we had in the refrigerator but you could substitute red leaf or green leaf or even iceberg if that’s all you have on hand. I’m giving you guesstimated ingredient amounts because everyone likes them but to be honest, we never measure out ingredients for salads. We grab a handful of this and add it to a handful of that. Full disclosure.
Greens Apple Pecan and Craisins Salad
12 - 16 ounces of greens
1/2 cup craisins (substitute dried cranberries or dried cherries)
1/2 cup candied pecans (we get them at Trader Joe's but they are now available in most supermarkets. Substitute pecan halves if you can't find them.)
2 apples, cored and thinly sliced
For the Dressing
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon maple syrup (use the real thing if you have it)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/4 cup olive oil (don't use extra virgin olive all unless you have to. I find it overpowers the flavor of the greens)
How To Prepare At Home
I like to make my salad dressings in a small jar but a coffee cup or glass measuring cup works well too. Combine the mustard, maple syrup & vinegar in a small container. Use a fork to combine well. If I'm working with a jar with lid, I'll combine the ingredients by putting the lid on the jar and give it a shake.
Adding the oil. You want to emulsify the ingredients. Oil and vinegar do not naturally combine but the mustard acts as an emulsifier to help them play nice together. Vigorous stirring or shaking helps too so I like to slowly add (pour) the olive oil into the jar with one hand and stir hard with a fork in the other hand.
Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Prepare the Salad
In your favorite salad bowl (we like our old wooden bowls that we've had for years), add the greens. At this point I like to add the dressing a little at a time until I have the perfect combination of greens to salad dressing. You never want to pour all the dressing on top of the salad so the greens are swimming. My wife and I call this over-dressing, "Laura the Salad" and say to each other as we are about to add the dressing, "Don't Laura the Salad!"
When you reached the optimum balance between greens to vinaigrette, add the craisins, pecans, and apple. We don't add everything at first and stir to combine because we fine the other ingredients go straight to the bottom of the bowl. If you add these other ingredients after you've combined the greens and the vinaigrette, you can GENTLY give the salad a stir and keep all the fun stuff on the top.
Bring the bowl to the table to serve or plate the salad on individual plates and serve.
Copyright 1997 - 2016 The Reluctant Gourmet