Spinach and Blue Cheese Salad With Sliced Apples and Spiced Caramelized Pecans

Southern Kitchen
Spinach and Blue Cheese Salad With Sliced Apples and Spiced Caramelized Pecans

Serves: 10

Hands On Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes


House Dressing

1 large shallot, minced

1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon sherry wine or rice wine vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup vegetable oil

Salt and freshly ground white pepper

Spiced Caramelized Pecans

3 cups peanut oil

2 cups pecan halves

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar

1 apple, chilled

Juice of 1 small lemon

1 (9- to 10-ounce) bag fresh spinach

1 (5- to 7-ounce) bag spring mix salad

4 ounces blue cheese or Gorgonzola, crumbled

Kosher salt

Freshly ground white pepper


To make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the shallot and the mustard. Whisk in the vinegars, and then the olive and vegetable oils. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a covered container and refrigerate until needed.

To make the pecans: In a deep fryer or a deep pot, heat the oil to 350 degrees. (A deep-frying thermometer can be clipped to the side of the pan so that you can tell when the proper temperature has been reached.)

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, bring 2 quarts water to a boil. Add the pecans and boil for 2 minutes. Drain in a large strainer, shaking off all excess water. Sprinkle the salt and cayenne pepper over the nuts. To coat them with the confectioners’ sugar, toss the nuts by shaking the strainer, adding a little more sugar each time, allowing the sugar to melt into the pecans. Continue until all the sugar is used and all the nuts are glazed with sugar. Do not use your hands or a spoon to toss.

Carefully add the nuts to the heated oil, keeping the oil at 350 degrees. Cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove with a slotted spoon to a baking tray to drain, separating the nuts with the spoon so they do not stick together as they cool.

Cut the apple into quarters, remove the stem and seeds, and cut into very thin slices. Sprinkle lemon juice over the slices and set aside.

When ready to serve, in a large salad bowl combine the apple, spinach, spring mix and blue cheese. Season lightly with salt and pepper and toss with the dressing. Toss the pecans with the salad or sprinkle them on top.


Per serving, entire recipe: 307 calories (percent of calories from fat, 76), 5 grams protein, 15 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 27 grams fat (5 grams saturated), 9 milligrams cholesterol, 283 milligrams sodium.

Per serving, spinach and blue cheese salad only: 59 calories (percent of calories from fat, 49), 4 grams protein, 4 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 3 grams fat (2 grams saturated), 9 milligrams cholesterol, 182 milligrams sodium.

For the Caramelize Pecans:

Per (2-tablespoon) serving: 286 calories (percent of calories from fat, 76), 1 gram protein, 8 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 12 grams fat (1 gram saturated), no cholesterol, 94 milligrams sodium.

For the House Dressing:

Per tablespoon: 83 calories (percent of calories from fat, 98), trace protein, trace carbohydrates, trace fiber, 9 grams fat (1 gram saturated), no cholesterol, 8 milligrams sodium.

About the recipe

Recipe courtesy of Maria Lameira, who adapted it from a Wolfgang Puck recipe she found on while looking for a salad to bring to a work event. “It got many compliments, and I personally loved it --- especially the pecans, ” she said.

When cooking the pecans, don’t let the oil get hotter than the recommended 350 degrees or the pecans may burn.

This recipe makes about 2 1/2 cups spiced pecans. The leftovers are great for snacking.