Is anyone else shocked that it’s October 1st today?! Where did September go??? When I was planning out today’s post, I went back through some recipes I had made last Fall that I never got around to using and when I came across pictures of the above salad, I figured I needed to wait a few more weeks before posting them because (while it is Fall) it’s not really time for pumpkins, Fall leaves and Indian corn. Wellllll, big surprise to me, it is! Halloween is 30 days away, so we’re marching full steam ahead with anything and everything that has to do with Fall! I’m going to turn around, in what feels like a week, and it’s going to be time to put up the Christmas tree!
I figured out this salad combo last year when I was putting together a cooking class I did at my house. As most of you know, a salad really, and I mean REALLY, has to knock my socks off for me to want to make it more than once. This salad definitely falls under the “sure, I’ll eat a salad every day if it tastes like this” category. I’m sharing it with you now, because I think you’ll want to make a note to remember it for the upcoming holidays. This is such a great salad for entertaining. Besides the fact that it’s incredibly delicious, it’s easy to make and most of the additions to it can be prepped ahead of time. I would make no bones about serving this at a dinner party or even at Thanksgiving or Christmas. It’s that good. It could be used as a starter/side or as a main meal. I served it as the main dish at the cooking class, topping it with an apple cider brined pork loin. I didn’t try the pork loin on it, but it was a hit with the ladies that attended the class.
On another little side note, today marks the second blogiversary of Carolina Girl Cooks! It’s hard to believe that it’s been two whole years since I’ve started the site. What’s even harder to believe is all of the amazing things that have spun off an impulsive idea to start a food blog while reading Bon Appetit magazine in my driveway one afternoon. Random, I know. If you had asked me five years ago what I’d be doing today, I promise my answer would not have included writing, photographing, cooking and now starting my own business (more on that to come toward the end of the year)! What a fabulous surprise these last couple years have been and I now know with every precious passing minute of the day, I’m doing exactly what I was put on this Earth to do. Thanks so much for letting me share my love of food and creating with you. I hope Carolina Girl Cooks will be a place you continue to visit for years to come!!
Fall Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette
- 8-10 cups (or one small box) of mixed salad greens
- 2 small granny smith apples
- 6 oz of crumbled blue cheese
- 1/3 cup of dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup spiced pecans, recipe to follow
- Apple Cider Vinaigrette
- Apple Cider Vinaigrette
- 1 cup of apple cider, unfiltered
- 1/4 cup of minced shallots
- 2 Tbsp of cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp of honey
- 2 tsp of dijon mustard
- 1/3 cup of good olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Spiced Pecans
- (makes 3 cups)
- 3 cups of shelled, raw pecans
- 1 egg white, lightly beaten
- 1 Tbsp of water
- 1/2 cup of white sugar
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- 1 tsp of ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp of ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp of ground nutmeg
- Apple Cider Vinaigrette :
- To make the vinaigrette, bring the apple cider and shallots to a boil. Reducing the liquid to about half. About 10-15 minutes.
- Allow it to cool a couple minutes and then add in the mustard, honey, vinegar and a dash of salt and pepper.
- Whisk in the olive oil in a steady stream until the dressing is well combined.
- Set aside until use or refrigerate in a sealed container until ready to use. The vinaigrette can be made several days ahead of time and will keep in the fridge for up to a week.
- Spiced Pecans :
- Lightly grease a baking sheet with vegetable oil or line it with aluminum foil to avoid using oil.
- In a small bowl combine the dry ingredients together. Set aside.
- In a medium size bowl, beat the egg white with the tablespoon of water. Add the pecans and coat them well with the egg white mixture. When the pecans are all coated, pour the dry ingredients over them and toss to coat again. When the pecans are well coated with the sugar mixture, turn them out onto the baking sheet in one layer.
- Bake at 350 for 30 minutes stirring them once or twice. Be careful not to let them burn.
- Once cool, these can be frozen in a container for up to 3 months.
- For the salad :
- Place the washed greens in a large bowl. Lightly toss with about a quarter cup of the vinaigrette.
- Add the blue cheese, chopped green apple, cranberries and spiced pecans over the top.
- Toss just before serving.
- I like to keep extra salad dressing on the table just incase my guests would like to add more to their personal salads.