Saturday, January 4, 2014

Spinach, Sweet Pecans and Apple Salad with Champagne maple Vinaigrette - Church PotLuck Salad

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Ho Ho Ho and Merry Christmas... This was the salad I served at this years Christmas Dinner.  A BIG HIT!

I am moving this to my "MUST MAKE AGAIN SOON" list.  In fact, I used the leftovers to make a ham and spinach sandwich (come back tomorrow for that post) that may be the best sandwich of all time (no exaggeration)... but I digress...

You have to look close to see the pecans.  They were so addictive I started nibbling as I was setting out the buffet and half of them disappeared... I mean this salad is REALLY GOOD!

So many little things... The goat cheese was a surprise and delicious.  the apples added a sweet crunch to the mix, the maple champagne dressing melded everything together perfectly.  I love the addition of the Red Pickled Onions.  Very easy to make the day before (Click the blue letters to see the recipe).  The pretty color and zesty snappy taste... Well, like I said, lots of little things.  BTW, if you have not gotten the canning bug (Pickled red onions are the easiest way to start), you can make this with raw onions.  I like to soak thin onion slices, rings separated in the vinaigrette for 30 minutes before adding and serving the salad.  This softens them up and takes that raw bite out of them.

OK, enough hyperbole... This salad speaks for itself... Best I have ever eaten!

OK... Here's what I did...

Spinach and Apple Salad with Maple-Champagne Vinaigrette

  • For Sweet/Heat Pecans
  • 1/2 pound Pecans Halves
  • 3 TBS Butter
  • 4 TBS Sugar
  • 1 Pinch (1/8 tsp) Cayenne Pepper (optional, but you will be glad you did)
  • 1 Pinch (1/8 tsp) Curry Powder
  • For Champagne Maple Vinaigrette
  • 1/3 Cup Champagne Vinaigrette
  • 3 TBS Maple Syrup
  • 2 TBS Whole Grain Dijon Mustard
  • Large Pinch Salt
  • Several turns of a Pepper Grinder
  • For the Apple Spinach Salad
  • 2 Medium Fuji Apples, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 Cup Pickled red onions (VERY thinly sliced NON pickled red Onions will work as well, rings separated)
  • 4 OZ Goat Cheese Crumbles
  • 1 Bag (10 Ounces) Baby Spinach, stems removed
Cooking Directions
  1. First, make the Pecans... In a medium Saute pan, melt the butter. Add the sugar and whisk to mix. Add the pecans. pepper spice and curry powder. Continue to heat over medium low heat, stirring occasionally until most of the butter has been absorbed into the pecans, about 20 minutes.
  2. Second, mix the Vinaigrette... In a large jelly jar (mason jar), add Champagne Vinaigrette, Maple Syrup, salt and pepper. Seal the jar tight and shale like Heck for a couple of minutes until silky creamy mixed.
  3. Finally, assemble the salad... Combine the Spinach, Apples and Goat Cheese (also if you are using raw red onions, add them now). Top with half of the vinaigrette, add more to get desired mix of dressing and salad (I prefer less dressing, some like the salad dripping in vinaigrette). Finally add the pecans and Pickled onions and toss to mix.
  4. Serve Chilled or room temperature and ENJOY!


This recipe has been added to my growing list of "52 Church PotLuck Dishes"!

A list of something NEW worthy of being shown off at a neighborhood BYODish (Bring Your Own Dish) Party, a Family special occasion dinner, Any Big Holiday Gathering or of course that glorious day when you bring a dish to share with your Church family...

Ages ago, literally almost a half century ago I was listening to our pastor talking about a PotLuck Dinner. It happened to be scheduled around a church work day when we were expected to weed, polish and do general cleaning and maintenance around the church (you know, back in the day when there were no no-wax floors and church pews smelled of Old English furniture polish). I am of course paraphrasing, but as I recall the pastor said,

"A potluck, like a church requires work. At a potluck everyone is expected to contribute.. At a church no one should come empty handed and no one should leave unfed".
I will confess that in my youth I brought more store bought plastic spoons and forks than I ever brought covered dishes and crock pots of fresh made love and caring delights. But now that I have become a hobbyist cook, I occasionally am reminded of those days and people from my youth. I reminded and I do wish that I could drop a dish of some new creation on those old tables at my fondly remembered Liberty Baptist Church.  Tables covered with newspapers and loaded with God's bounty prepared with love and caring... Enjoy


So,  I am pleased to list this as one of my Growing list of  "52 Specialty Salad Recipes"!!!

Sometimes they are the main course, sometimes a lunch and sometimes they are the side dish... And if you count Jell-o salad you can even make a dessert of a salad.  Here are a few of my favorite salads that get far more Ooohs and Aaahs than that simple chopped head of lettuce.

Links include Potato Salads, Cole Slaws, and Plenty of greens and fixins' Salads... And more than a few matching FRESH MADE Jam Jar make it yourself Salad Dressings!


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1 comment:

  1. Just checking in. So glad I did. Your Christmas dishes look amazing. Happy New Year you two!