Adaptability. It’s all about adaptability. Take this sweet, crunchy and showy salad, perfect for any get-together, originally from my mother-in-law’s recipe book. Awesome salad, but originally quite refined. Substitute maple syrup for white sugar and olive oil for vegetable oil, and voila! You’ve thrown refinement to the wind! And retained good taste and stunning looks. Lookin’ good, girl. Lookin’ good. Love the makeover.
The steps, when written out, look a little long, but I hate to leave anything to chance. The salad is delicious, always goes over well at potlucks, and isn’t hard to make.
Don’t be afraid to adapt. Don’t be afraid to adapt recipes. Eat real. Eat well. Live well.
P.S. Salad shown without the delicious poppy seed dressing. Can’t remember why.
For the salad:
1 pound of fresh baby spinach or spinach chopped into bite sized pieces
1 cup of celery, diced small
1 quart of fresh strawberries, sliced or quartered
For the glazed pecans:
½ cup maple syrup
1 ½ cup whole pecans
For the poppy seed dressing:
⅔ cup white apple cider vinegar
½ cup maple syrup (you may like a little more than I do)
3-4 green onions (with tops), chopped
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 cups olive oil
3 tablespoons poppy seeds
First, place the spinach, diced celery, and fresh-sliced strawberries in your prettiest glass serving bowl. Set aside. You can even do this the day before for convenience.
Second, glaze the pecans:
- Lay out a large sheet of waxed paper, about the size of a cookie sheet, and grease it well with a little coconut oil or olive oil. Alternatively, you may use a silicone baking mat which will not need greased.
- Put the maple syrup and pecans in a large, heavy skillet. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, for about 7-8 minutes. Time will vary, but cook the pecans until the syrup caramelizes and gets sticky and bubbly. Err on the side of overcooking (but do not burn).
- Remove the pecans with a slotted spoon to the greased waxed paper or silicone sheet.
- Allow to cool.
- Break up into pieces to sprinkle onto the salad. Set aside. You may also do this the day before and store separately.
Third, make the poppy seed dressing:
- Combine the first 5 ingredients in a food processor or blender. (Do not yet add the olive oil or poppy seeds.) Blend until smooth.
- With the food processor still running, add the 2 cups of oil in a slow, steady stream until smooth and thick. The dressing will be a light green color.
- Fold in the poppy seeds.
- Chill. (You may have extra dressing. The dressing will keep in the refrigerator for about ten days, although it will thicken due to the cold. Allow it to come to room temperature for a thinner consistency.)
Finally, put the salad all together:
- Top the salad mix in the pretty bowl with the glazed pecans.
- Drizzle on the poppy seed dressing just before serving, using only as much dressing as you desire.
- Toss the salad to mix. Serve. (Alternatively, serve the dressing on the side, and any leftovers will keep better.)
Family “gustar” report: The whole family votes thumbs up for this salad.
I hope you try this recipe and love it as much as we all do! Please, give real food a try!