Salad of Baby Field Greens with Orange Spiced Pecans Blue Cheese Crumbles and Cranberries
By Chef Heidi Allison

Ingredients

5 ounces Spring Mix European Style Baby Lettuce
1/4 cup Crumbled Bleu Cheese
1/4 cup Dried Cranberries
Salad Dressing (see recipe below)
1/4 cup Orange Spiced Pecans (see recipe below)
Salad Dressing
1 pint Strawberries washed and tops removed (16 ounces)
1/2 cup Seasoned Rice Wine Vinegar (do not substitute for Regular Rice Wine Vinegar)
2 tablespoons Meyer Lemons juice freshly squeezed
1 1/2 teaspoon Peanut Oil
2 tablespoons Honey
1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/4 teaspoon White Pepper
Orange Spiced Pecans
6 ounces Pecans halved
3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
2 tablespoons New Mexico Chili Powder (hot)
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
3 tablespoons Orange Juice

Directions

Place lettuce, blue cheese crumbles and cranberries in a bowl. Add ¼ cup salad dressing and toss. Place tossed salad on chilled plates and drizzle and add an additional teaspoon of salad dressing over the top of the salad. Top with pecans and serve.

Salad Dressing

Combine the ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth. 
Refrigerate for at least 3 hours to allow the flavors to mellow.

Orange Spiced Pecans

Heat oven to 350°. 

Spread pecans on a jelly roll baking sheet and bake for 9 minutes until golden brown. 

Remove pecans from oven and place on a plate to cool.

Mix sugar, ground chili and salt in a bowl. Divide sugar mixture in half, and set aside other half for another batch. 

Place half of the sugar, ground chili and salt mixture in a 10-inch nonstick skillet. 

Heat on medium-high for about 1 minute, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. 

Add orange juice and pecans to sugar mixture and continue to stir until mixture is bubbly and a bit darker. 

Stir until nuts are well coated. 

Remove the nuts from the pan and place on the baking sheet in a single layer to cool (about 20 minutes). 

Store in refrigerator until ready to use.

From the Author Heidi Allison

This healthy spring salad uses small portions of orange spiced pecans and blue cheese crumbles for a flavor, and is dressed with a creamy fruit-based dressing that’s packed with healthful phytochemicals (which help to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer).

If at all possible, use meyer lemons in this recipe -– these exotic hybrids are less acidic than Eureka lemons (the type commonly found in stores), and have a rich flavor that is reminiscent of sweet Persian lemons with tones of mandarin orange. This exquisite citrus fruit is a marvelous choice in salad dressings, lemonades and desserts.