When I was a catering chef, this was our most requested summer salad. We often changed the fruit and cheese component with the seasons, but the perfect flavor mix of the pungent blue cheese, sweet blueberries, fiery nuts and maple taste were always a hit. Serve along side grilled chicken, steamed green beans served cold and roasted potatoes for an enjoyable and easy spring dinner. The recipes included for the Spicy nuts and dressing make more than you need so you can save some for another party.
Wild and Gathered Double Blue Salad with Spicy Pecans and Maple Vinaigrette Dressing
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Yields 10 to 12 buffet servings
1 Â½Â pounds spring mix lettuce blend or micro greens
1 1/2 cups or 6 ounces blue Cheese, crumbled (Gorgonzola works well)
1 pint fresh Blueberries, washed
1 cup spicy pecans (recipe follows)
Â½ cup Maple Vinaigrette dressing (recipe follows)
To assemble salad- Place greens on a large serving platter, sprinkle with blue cheese, blueberries and spicy pecans. Drizzle dressing with a spoon or a plastic squirt bottle on salad right before serving.
Yields 3 cups
3 cups pecan pieces
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon ground red cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons sugar
Roast pecans on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes. Stir about every 5 minutes. When they start to smell like toasted nuts, remove from oven and set aside.
Melt butter in the microwave for 30 seconds in a small bowl. Mix seasonings together separately in a larger bowl. When nuts are slightly cooled about 5 minutes, toss in the bowl with the seasonings and add the butter, mixing until all nuts are well coated. Spread the nuts on a cookie sheet and let dry for one hour. (Recipe makes additional nuts that can be stored for up to 2 weeks in an air tight container)
Maple Vinaigrette Dressing
Yields 2 1/2 cups
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
2/3 cup authentic maple syrup
1 tablespoon Brown mustard
1 cup of canola oil
Place all ingredients in a food processor except oil and blend on high for 30 seconds. Drizzle in oil slowly.