Thursday, July 02, 2015

Strawberry Salad with Candied Pecans and Balsamic Glaze

I love this salad!   Such an intense sweet and tangy flavor from the creamy balsamic dressing that goes  perfectly with the ripe strawberries and sweet crunchy pecans!  Did I mention I love this salad?

Strawberry Salad with Candied Pecans and Balsamic Glaze

2-3 cups mixed greens (I like arugula and baby spinach)
1 pint strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup candied pecans, chopped  (see recipe below)
1/4 cup red grapes, sliced
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts   

Candied Pecans

1 cup pecans
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

In a medium non-stick skillet over medium heat, add 1 pecans, sugar and butter.
Heat over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  When the sugar mixture starts melting, stir constantly until all sugar is melted and nuts are coated. Transfer immediately onto a sheet of parchment paper and separate the nuts right away. Using two forks works best to get them a part.  Work quickly or they will be a mess. Once the coating hardens (5-7 minutes), you can transfer them to a bowl and enjoy!  Eat as a snack or chop them for a salad topping or dessert topping.  Store in air tight container.

Make the Balsamic Glaze

1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons of honey

In a small saucepan, combine balsamic vinegar and honey. Bring the glaze to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking regularly, until glaze thickens and becomes syrupy, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let glaze cool completely before using it to top the salad.

Make the Salad

Chill two salad plates in the freezer while mixing salad.  

Rinse mixed greens, spin dry and add to a large bowl. In a large salad bowl, drizzle some of the balsamic down the sides of the bowl. Add in greens and strawberries; toss gently.  

Sprinkle in pecans and toss again. Finally add sliced grapes, cranberries, pine nuts and cheese. Remove salad plates from freezer and plate with lettuce mixture. Sprinkle on more pecans and drizzle with more glaze. 

Serve immediately.

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