Yes, it's winter. We've long since passed fall. But, fall and winter foods are pretty much the same. Comfort food.
However, amidst the casseroles, soups and cookies, there are a few recipes that stand out from the crowd of 'comfort food'. Salads (as a category) would count as one of the stand outs, since they're not in demand as much during this time. To brave the season, a salad needs to be pretty unique to pair well with the heavier winter dishes.
Ding! Ding! Ding!
We have a winner, Pat... 'Fall Salad', come on down!
Served at our very large family Christmas Eve dinner, this salad received rave reviews. I ate it with mac & cheese, mashed potatoes and some grilled winter vegetables. The meat eaters also had what I ate, plus prime rib. Everyone was happy with this salad. And although salads don't strike you as 'fall' or 'winter' food, it seemed like a comfort dish. The balsamic dressing, with candied walnuts - yum!
I hope you enjoyed your holiday dinners as much as we did.
adapted from Tyler Florence, Food Network
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup raw pecans
Maple-balsamic dressing (this makes enough for a large salad, or keep the leftover refrigerated and use within the week):
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Lettuce - approximately 3 heads, or 3 packages pre-washed lettuce (the recipe calls for: 1 head endive, 2 hearts frisee, 1 large radicchio)
1 pear, sliced
1/4 cup shaved Parmesan
To make the candied pecans, set a nonstick pan over medium heat. Add the butter and sugar and once it has melted, toss in the pecans and continue to toss to coat and cook evenly, about 1 minute. Transfer to a sheet tray lined with waxed paper (use 2 forks to separate pecans) while you prepare the salad.
Make the dressing by combining the Dijon and balsamic vinegar in a large mixing bowl. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while you whisk to emulsify. Add the maple syrup and season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
Assemble salad by tossing greens and pear slices in a large mixing bowl with maple-balsamic dressing. Top with shaved Parmesan and candied pecans.