We got together with our good friends a couple weeks ago. It was a simple menu – spaghetti and meatballs. Mary brought this incredibly delicious salad. I decided to recreate it for our Easter brunch, using ingredients I had on hand. It turned out quite differently, naturally, but the key to the yumminess are the roasted pecans. They, and the dressing, may be made a couple days ahead, which saves time during that last minute scurry of putting everything together.
We like spicy, but if you prefer a little less heat, simply adjust the amount of cayenne pepper. Next time I prepare it, I’ll probably switch out one or two cups of the chopped romaine for chopped kale. Add some crumbled bacon and it would be a meal!
If you want the inspiration recipe, it can be found on the Internet by searching for “The Best Salad We Ever Ate.” That recipe makes a large amount of salad – great for when you have extra folks around the table.
4½ cups raw pecan halves
2 large egg whites
½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 tablespoons butter, melted
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2/3 cup white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup canola oil
4 cups chopped romaine
½ cup shaved American Grana parmesan cheese, shaved
1 cup sliced strawberries
Preheat oven to 325°F. Coarsely chop ¼ cup of pecans. Set pecans aside. Beat egg whites with salt until foamy. Add sugar, Worcestershire sauce, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper. Fold in pecan halves, chopped pecans, and melted butter. Spread pecans evenly on a baking sheet. Bake 30 – 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until browned and aromatic. Cool and store in an airtight container in the fridge. Warm slightly before adding to the salad to bring out the flavor.
Place all ingredients in a container with a tight-fitting lid. Shake well to combine.
Toss together chopped romaine and strawberries with desired amount of dressing. Arrange on individual plates and garnish with pecans and shaved parmesan.
© 2017 Georgia Kohart