Strawberry Spinach Salad with Pecans

 

A classic Southern salad you won’t soon forget.

½ cup pecan halves
½ medium onion, sliced
About 6 cups fresh spinach
2 cups strawberries
¼ cup fresh goat cheese, crumbled
1 medium orange
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon poppy seeds

Spread the pecans in a dry skillet over medium heat and toast, stirring often, until fragrant. Cool and chop coarsely.

Wash the spinach well and dry. Remove the thick stems and tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces. Place in a large salad bowl.

Remove the hulls, the leafy stem, from the strawberries with a paring knife. Slice the strawberries and add to the spinach with the pecans. Add the onion to the salad with the goat cheese. Toss well. Grate the orange zest and sprinkle over the salad.

Squeeze the juice from the orange into a small bowl (this should yield about ½ cup). Whisk in the salt, dry mustard, and vinegar. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in the oil. Stir in the poppy seeds.

Add just enough dressing to the salad to moisten and toss well. Serve immediately.

 

Pecan Crusted Grouper

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No matter how you pronounce this delectable nut this recipe is a home run!

¼ cup pecan meal or finely ground pecans
¼ cup panko crumbs
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound of skin-on grouper fillets, cut into 4-ounce servings
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3tablespoons minced shallot
¼ cup white wine
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
¼ cup chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the pecan meal, panko crumbs, Old Bay, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish.

Pat the fish fillets dry, then brush the flesh side with about 1 tablespoon oil. Place each fillet flesh-down in the pecan/crumb mixture and press lightly to coat.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil and 2 tablespoons butter in a nonstick ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until the butter is melted and foaming. Place the fish in the skillet with the pecan coating down. Lower the heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes.

Using a fish spatula or whatever you have, turn the fish skin-down, careful not to dislodge the pecan coating. Place the skillet in the oven for 10 minutes, or until the fish is white and cooked through.

While the fish is baking, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a small saucepan and add the shallots. Cook for a few minutes, until the shallots are translucent. Add the wine, bring to a boil, and cook until reduced by half. Whisk in the mustard, then add the chopped pecans and remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Cook, stirring, until the butter is melted.

Place each fillet on a dinner plate and divide the sauce over the fillets

* White fleshed Grouper is perfect for this preparation, but you could always substitute a different white fish such as Tilapia, but I really wish you wouldn’t. *

 

 

Simple Saltine Toffee

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An oldie but a goodie.

About 50 saltine crackers
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate pieces
1 cup finely chopped pecans
Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a 12-by-18-inch rimmed baking sheet with nonstick foil or parchment paper.

Lay the crackers out in one layer as close together as possible, filling the baking sheet.

Melt the butter, brown sugar, and vanilla in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently. When the butter is melted, raise the heat and bring the mixture to a boil, and keep at a boil for about 3 minutes, stirring. When the 3 minutes are up, give it a good stir and pour evenly over the crackers on the baking sheet.

Spread the caramel around with a spatula if needed, but don’t worry if the surface isn’t covered completely, you just don’t want it pooling in one place. Bake the crackers for 5 minutes, then remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top in an even layer. Let sit for 5 minutes, then use a spatula to spread the chocolate in an even layer over the crackers.

Sprinkle the pecans and the sea salt evenly over the top of the toffee. Leave to cool, then place in the refrigerator for about an hour for the chocolate to set. Break into pieces and store in an airtight container.

 

 

“New South” Sweet Sriracha Pecans

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4 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons Sriracha chili sauce
2 cups pecan halves
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Combine the honey and Sriracha in a small saucepan and warm over medium-low heat until thinned and well mixed.

Remove from the heat and add the pecans. Stir well until the pecans are lightly coated.

Spread the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 15 minutes.

Add the sugar and salt in a bowl. When the pecans are done, add them to the bowl with the sugar/salt mixture. Stir until the pecans are completely coated.

Spread out pecans and allow to cool. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days, not that they will last that long.

Warning these pecans are highly addictive.