This is an excellent salad with artisan greens, blue cheese and a wonderful balsamic vinaigrette. Then the salad is garnished with strawberries, oranges and sweet and spicy pecans. I might have to replace my old Balsamic Vinaigrette recipe with this new one. I guess I need to make them both and do a taste comparison – that always works; and if not I will keep them both.
After all of the sweets and goodies from Mardi Gras and even last night at a neighbor’s with her chocolate pie it is time to have something a little “healthier”. I could live on salads as there are so many ways to fix them, the ingredients are endless and the possibilities are numerous. So, this is my contribution to Fiesta Friday #6 at The Novice Gardener’s party.
This is an older salad where I knew I might be able to find the author just by its title “Baby Blue Salad”. There are a number of recipes online including one from Southern Living and that is probably where I found the recipe because it is identical to the one I have had for 10 years.
On further looking I found a recipe by Chef Franklin Biggs, who comes from Birmingham, Alabama and it seemed this Baby Blue Salad was created by him. The recipe was a little different from the version I had so I combined the two recipes, one from 2004 and the latest version in 2014 based on my taste preferences. The Southern Living recipe had 1/8 tsp. ground red pepper added to the nuts and I did not care for this. Chef Biggs also roasted his garlic which gives the vinaigrette some additional great flavor.
Baby Blue Salad with Strawberries and Oranges
- 1 lb. baby lettuce mix
- 6 oz. blue cheese (I used a reduced fat crumbled blue cheese and it was very good)
- 2 cups balsamic vinaigrette (see recipe below)
- 4 oranges, peeled and sliced or use canned mandarin oranges
- 2 pints strawberries, quartered
- 6 oz. pecans or 1 cup (see recipe below)
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/3 cup Dijon mustard
- 1/3 cup honey
- 2 tbsp. garlic, roasted (see my recipe Roasted Garlic)
- 2 tbsp. shallots, minced (optional)
- 3 cups olive oil
Combine the above ingredients and mix well.
SWEET AND SPICY PECANS:
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 cup pecan halves
- 2 tbsp. white sugar
- 1 tbsp. chili powder
Stir together the sugar and water until the sugar dissolves; add pecan halves and soak 10 minutes. Drain well and discard the sugar/water mixture. This step and the ingredients were not included in the author’s original recipe but is a good idea so the spices will adhere better.
Combine the sugar and chili powder. An 1/8 tsp. of ground red pepper is optional but I chose to leave it out as I did not care for the extra heat. Add the pecans and toss to coat. Place on a greased baking sheet, parchment paper or a foil lined baking sheet. See also my post Candied Pecans or Walnuts for Salads for additional nut recipes.
Bake at 350°F for 5 minutes; then stir, turn and bake another 5 minutes.
Recipe by cookingwithauntjuju.com