Green Salad with Dates, Blue Cheese & Pecan Vinaigrette
Makes 2 cups Pecan Vinaigrette // Salad serves 4
When making the vinaigrette, take care not to overblend -- you want small flecks of toasted pecans suspended in the dressing. The final result should be rich, tangy, and creamy and should cling to the salad leaves. We opt for a good quality canola oil over olive oil for two reasons: first, its neutral flavor allows the pecans to shine. And secondly, it won’t solidify when refrigerated, so you can continue to enjoy the dressing for up to a week.
1 cup pecan pieces
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon maple syrup
5 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 cup good quality expeller-pressed canola oil
2-3 tablespoons cold water, as needed
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt, or to taste
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
For the Salad:
5 cups hearty greens, such as baby kale, spinach, baby bok choy, arugula
2 ounces blue cheese, such as Sweetgrass Dairy Asher Blue or Point Reyes Bay Blue
1/4 cup chopped pitted dates
1/4 cup thinly sliced radish
2-3 tablespoons Pecan Vinaigrette, above
1/4 cup toasted pecan halves
Preheat oven to 300˚F. Scatter pecan pieces on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until toasted and fragrant, about 10-12 minutes. Remove and allow to cool completely.
Combine cooled pecans, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, and apple cider vinegar together in a blender or food processor. Pulse or blend on low speed for 3-4 seconds, until the pecans are very finely chopped and all ingredients are well combined. Transfer mixture to a bowl and slowly whisk in the canola oil until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Whisk in a couple tablespoons of cold water to thin the vinaigrette to your desired consistency. Refrigerate until ready to use or up to 1 week.
Wash and dry salad greens. Add blue cheese, dates, and radish. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Toss with Pecan Vinaigrette and garnish with toasted pecans. Serve immediately.