Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Autumn Chopped Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

Like a lot of people I know, I’m addicted to Pinterest. I enjoy it not just for recipes, but also for crafts and home decoration ideas. But mostly, if I’m being completely honest, for recipes. The recipes I may actually do something with. Finding the time to craft and redecorate is much harder. But finding the time to make this salad was easy!

I absolutely loved all the flavors of this salad. It’s composed of pears, bacon, quick-candied pecans, dried cranberries, and feta cheese, all tossed with crispy romaine and drizzled with maple vinaigrette. The pears and pecans provide sweetness, the bacon and feta give it saltiness, and the cranberries and the vinaigrette provide another level of tangy sweetness. What a delicious ode to the flavors of autumn.

Joe was pleasantly surprised by the salad, too. I don’t think he expected to like it, but he really did – especially the dressing, which I threw together on a whim instead of using the poppy seed dressing and balsamic vinaigrette called for in the original recipe. I thought the maple would work really well with the other flavors, and it did. We both loved this, and we’d planned to eat the leftovers for lunch the next day…but there were none. That’s how good it was!

Autumn Chopped Salad with Maple Vinaigrette
salad adapted from Espresso and Cream; dressing is my recipe

For the salad:

1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Pinch of cinnamon
8 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1 medium pear, thinly sliced
1/2 pound thick-cut bacon, crisp-cooked and crumbled
1 cup dried cranberries
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

For the maple vinaigrette:

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup real maple syrup
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add pecans and cook until lightly toasted and fragrant. Stir in brown sugar and cinnamon. Cook until slightly caramelized. Remove from heat to cool.

2. In a large bowl or on a serving platter, combine the lettuce, pear, bacon, cranberries and feta cheese. Stir in pecans.

3. To make the dressing, whisk together the vinegar and maple syrup. Whisk in olive oil until thoroughly combined. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.

4. Drizzle dressing over salad.

One year ago: Mint cookies and cream ice cream

1 comment:

Taylor said...

I'm addicted to Pinterest too...I actually have Espresso and Cream's picture of this pinned :) I love that you made your own dressing...looks delicious!