It’s quite possible that I married a rabbit…or a turtle or whatever animal happens to eat an enormous amount of salad. How many people do you know would call Caesar Salad their favorite comfort food? Steve does. And he does it proudly. There have been many times when we’ve dined at restaurants and the server would mix-up our plates assuming that the man at the table is ordering Chicken Fried Steak and the lady – a Salad. That doesn’t bother me though because I’m proud of my green leaf-eating machine.
Before Steve came into my life my only knowledge of salad came to my plate in the form of iceberg lettuce, shredded carrots, red cabbage and ranch dressing. I’m pretty sure the salad came from a bag and the ranch was made by shaking a packet of powder with milk and mayo – but boy did I love it. Isn’t anything better with ranch dressing smothered all over it? If you look carefully, you might even find a couple of packets of that wonderful powder hidden deep in my pantry for special occasions.
In the years that would follow our courtship Steve began to expand my world of leafy greens and condiments. First it was dried cranberries and champagne vinaigrette, then a spiced pecan here or candied walnut there. Before long I was loving salad like I never had before, adding strawberries, spinach, cheese and making my own candied nuts. The possibilities were endless and it always felt good eating something with so much color and flavor.
Since lately I’ve been pumping you full of rhubarb and cupcakes, I thought it was only fair that I give you something that would treat the waistline nicely, be satisfying and easy to throw together. It’s a salad that I’m pretty sure most of you have had at some point in your lifetime. Mixed greens, candied pecans, boiled egg, pears and blue cheese tossed with a simple vinaigrette. It is also a snap to throw together so when you are having one of those iamtiredanddon’tfeellikecooking nights – go to this recipe. You’ll thank me for it.
In the time it takes you to candy the pecans and boil the eggs you can toss your greens, slice the pear and whisk the dressing together. First start with the pecans. Line a cookie sheet that doesn’t warp (yes I have several) with foil and spray it with non-stick cooking spray. Line with pecans and drizzle with maple syrup. You’ll want to get in there with your hands and make sure you coat every little nut. Now add coarse sea salt and stick the pan in a 425º oven. Don’t worry about pre-heating it. Just turn it on and go!
While the nuts sizzle away in their blanket of sugar, put two eggs in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and turn the heat off. Let the eggs sit in the hot water for 6-8 minutes. This will yield a perfectly cooked egg. Peel them under cool running water.
Now whisk your dressing together, slice your pear nice and thin, pull the pecans out of the oven, peal your eggs under cool water and toss it all together with your crumbled blue cheese. You’ll scrap every bit out of that bowl.
This is a great dish for a night when you want something healthy and quick or if you want to impress your friends for dinner.
Mixed Greens with Pears & Candied Pecans
Cook & Prep time: 20 minutes
Serves 2 as a main dish, 4 as a side dish
4 cups (or big handfuls) of mixed greens
2 boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup raw pecans
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 Bartlett pear sliced thinly, core removed
2 radishes thinly sliced (optional)
2 tablespoons blue cheese
2 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar
4-6 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and Pepper
- Heat oven to 450º. Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Add pecans in one layer, pour the maple syrup on the nuts and toss them until coated. Season with sea salt. Cook for 15 minutes – the oven does not need to be completely heated.
- Put the 2 eggs in a pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, remove from heat and let stand for 6-8 minutes. Peel while running under cool water. Chop.
- Whisk vinegar, oil and salt and pepper. Set aside
- Add the greens, sliced pear and radish to a salad bowl.
- When the pecans are done you can toss them into the salad whole or give them a quick chop.
- Mix everything together and serve!