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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Mixed Greens with Pecans, Goat Cheese, and Dried Cranberries

pecans, goat cheese, dried cranberries
Mixed Greens with Pecans, Goat Cheese, and Dried Cranberries

Last month I hosted a dinner party for three other couples. Because it was scheduled for a Wednesday night I had to be super intentional about my meal-planning. I didn’t have hours to mess around in the kitchen and instead spread out my cooking over a few days. It made that Wednesday after work much less stressful and dinner for 8 by 6:30 pm totally manageable.
Pin Itpecans, goat cheese, cranberries
This salad was on the menu that night and while salad isn’t all that time-consuming to make, I shaved a few minutes of time off of the preparation by making the candied pecans and the dressing a day ahead of time. All that was required to finish it off was throwing all of the ingredients together.
candied pecans
Of course, you could also omit the homemade candied pecans and just buy some or even throw plain ones in there. I liked the bit of spice these gave to the rest of the salad. Judging by the amount of leftover salad (none), this would be a good addition to your salad repertoire!

Mixed Greens with Pecans, Goat Cheese, and Dried Cranberries
from epicurious (Bon Appetit Oct 2003), pecans from Bon Appetit Sep 1999

for the dressing-
-1/4 cup red wine vinegar
-1 tbsp Dijon mustard
-1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
-3/4 cup olive oil
-salt & pepper, to taste

for the pecans-
-1 1/2 cups pecans
-3 tbsp light corn syrup
-1 1/2 tbsp sugar
-3/4 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
-1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

for the rest of the salad-
-10 oz mixed greens
-1 cup dried cranberries
-1 small red onion, thinly sliced
-4 oz soft goat cheese

1. To make the dressing, whisk the vinegar, mustard, and thyme in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil and season with salt and pepper (Note--you will have leftover dressing).
2. To make the pecans, preheat oven to 325F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick spray. Combine corn syrup, sugar, salt, pepper, and cayenne in a bowl, stirring to combine. Add pecans and stir to coat. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Bake pecans for 5 minutes before stirring. Return to oven for an additional 10 minutes. Transfer to a clean sheet of foil and separate nuts with a fork. Allow to cool completely and coarsely chop. (Can be made up to 3 days ahead and store at room temperature)
3. Combine greens with cranberries, red onion, pecans, and goat cheese. Toss with desired amount of dressing and serve immediately.