Monday, September 13, 2010
This is a ‘transition salad’ - blending some of your favorite Spring & Fall partners - baby spinach, tart Granny Smith apples, feta cheese, and spiced nuts. The subtle touch of spice in the nuts makes me look forward to all those familiar Fall tastes and smells. One of those spices may surprise you...
Any recipe with nuts immediately scores points with me, and when I saw all these flavors combined I had to try it. When I read about it on redhead recipes, the cayenne pepper intrigued me. That may deter you, but it’s just enough to make everyone wonder what that tiny extra zing is from. It really isn’t the same without it - (trust me, I made it three times - once without the cayenne, and it was boring...)
I must say that the caramelized nuts were not my favorite, so I changed them to sugared spiced nuts. When you reach my age, you’ve financially supported several dentists singlehandedly - especially if you are a nut-lover (NUTS + SUGAR = DENTIST VISIT) The caramelized version was delicious, but just too hard on teeth.
I opted for using a method of sugaring the nuts I’ve used for years that gives you the same sweet pleasure, but it’s much easier to consume in a salad. I’ve included both - but consider yourself informed.
Caramelizing the nuts was a learning experience for me. First, the amount of sugar was way overboard. I could hardly find the nuts in all the sugar. The instructions simply stated to add the nuts when the sugar starts to melt, stirring occasionally. I did this the first time and found I was prematurely stirring. Hard clumps of sugar formed that never did liquify - making that batch a total waste.
The next time I halved the sugar and let it almost completely liquify first, then I added the nuts and stirred only after most of it had caramelized. You need to be careful to watch your heat, as the nuts will burn if you get careless.
The best result though was ‘sugaring’ the nuts - which I’ve outlined in the recipe. I've also included the ‘caramelized’ version - for you die-hard nut-lovers who are lucky enough to have rock hard teeth.
For this wonderful Fall salad recipe, go to: