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Candied Pecan and Goat Cheese Salad

April 15, 2012

Last week  I asked a farmer at the farmer’s market about the status of her radishes, as I well-remembered them from around this time last year.  She was surprised that they had been ready, so I whipped out my iPhone and showed her the photo I had posted to Facebook the first week of last April. (Although annoyingly the date isn’t displayed on photos on my phone.)

Her radishes are behind this year, but she promised that if I made a sign showing the price of radishes using that photo, she’d give me a bag of her greenhouse-grown baby lettuce.

Fast forward to this week where I showed up at the first outdoor farmers’ market of the year, sign in hand… and she had just sold her last bag of lettuce, having totally forgotten about our barter.  Instead she gave me some of last season’s onions, and some green onions (I didn’t have the heart to tell her that green onions sometimes give me migraines.)  However, I had company coming and my intended menu included a salad, so I had to go buy a container of California-grown spring mix lettuce from the grocery store.  So much for supporting local food.  Although later I bought some B.C.-caught sockeye from the local fishmonger.

I have a bag of raspberries in my freezer I need to finish off, so I had come up with the thought of making a raspberry vinaigrette.  I found a recipe for a candied walnut and gorgonzola salad, but I didn’t know what I’d do with a lot of leftover gorgonzola.  Also, I had pecans in the freezer, so I switched things up.  The results were delicious.

Candied Pecan and Goat Cheese Salad

(serves two as an appetizer)

2 cups spring mix salad greens or other lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces

raspberry vinaigrette (recipe below)

1/4 cup candied pecans (recipe below)

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese*

Place  lettuce in a bowl, drizzle with vinaigrette to taste, mix gently.  Divide between two serving bowls.  Sprinkle each with half each of pecans, cranberries, and goat cheese.   Serve.

Yesterday I made the mistake of adding everything and then mixing it all together, but the cheese turned a shade of unappetizing pink and all the good stuff ended up at the bottom of the bowl.  My lunch salad today looked much nicer.

*Make sure the goat cheese you choose isn’t too soft to crumble.  I used Quebec-produced Capriny.  I tried to find a local cheese suitable for my purpose, but was unsucessful.  Perhaps someday I can be the one to start a goat cheese farm here on the island. Ha ha.

Raspberry Vinaigrette

(adapted from Allrecipes.com)

2/3 cup fresh or thawed frozen raspberries

2 tbsp water

1/2 tbsp sugar

1/2 tbsp white vinegar

1/2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp yellow or Dijon mustard

salt and pepper to taste

Press raspberries through a sieve, discard leftover pulp and seeds.  Combine juice with remaining ingredients.  Store in the refrigerator for up to five days*, stir well before serving.

*I just made that date range up.  I have no idea.   Use your judgement.  But this will make more than you need for the above recipe.

Candied Pecans

(modified from Suzie the Foodie)

1/4 cup pecan halves or pieces

1 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp water

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Place pecans on a baking sheet and toast, about 5 minutes, watching carefully so they don’t burn.  Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil, then add pecans.  Cook 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently.  Once the liquid has turned to a thick syrup and the pecans are well coated, remove from heat.  Spread pecans in a single layer on parchment paper on a baking sheet.  Return to oven for 3 to 5 minutes, to further harden sugar.  Remove and let cool, break into smaller pieces if desired.

I have a tiny saucepan, so this worked for me.  If you find your pot is too big for the syrup to adequately cover the pecans, try doubling the recipe and save pecans for future use, if you can keep yourself from eating them.

Is there local food available right now where you are? 

What kind of fancy salad combinations do you like?

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. April 15, 2012 2:49 pm

    Right now we’re really digging raw beets in our salad – even my kids. With pecans and a little soy, rice wine vinegar, greens. Delish.

  2. April 15, 2012 4:23 pm

    There is still ALL KINDS OF SNOW on the ground here… so no local food. I have heard that there is one farm in the area… I’m not sure if it’s an animal farm or crops farm, but I’m guessing animals. Last summer I had some local carrots, peas, and beats that a woman gave me from her garden.

    I like nuts and apples in my salad. I like using spinach as opposed to lettuce or spring mix greens, and mangoes are a really nice addition.

  3. April 16, 2012 5:11 am

    I love roasted radishes. I have been eating them almost every day on salad. I’m not a huge fan of them raw, unless there is some really great dip involved.

    The only time I like nuts is when they are candied. And then I think I only like them because of the candy coating.

    • April 18, 2012 7:18 am

      Roasted radishes? How do you roast a radish? I have never ever heard if cooking them in any way. I am intrigued.

      • April 18, 2012 7:39 am

        You just cut them in half and throw them in the oven under the broiler. They get all sweet and creamy on the inside. It takes some of the bite out of it.

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