I think it’s safe to say that it’s officially shower season (I’ve got one to attend this weekend!) That said, April usually kicks off all things wedding and baby, so today I’m sharing a stunning salad recipe that’s suitable to serve at either of said celebrations.
Somebody smack me.
As I mentioned last week, Ben and I recently celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary. As I was looking through our wedding photos reminiscing (so young, so tan, so well rested!) I came across pictures of a bridal shower my friend’s Mom threw for me leading up to the big day. It was such a sweet event with all my best high school friends and included a beautiful sit down lunch complete with china, linen napkins, and a dainty yet delectable spread.
Had Maple-Bourbon Pecan Salad been created at the time, it would have been perfect to serve at the shower. Not only is it stunning and special-occasion-worthy, but seriously scrumptious (THOSE PECANS!) One thing my girls and I all have in common is that we love to eat. Bonus points for looking nice, but it has to be delicious, and Maple-Bourbon Pecan Salad is checking all the boxes.
First thing’s first – this recipe is sponsored by my friends at Fisher Nuts. As you know, we’ve been working together for the past five years whipping up crunchy, drippy, downright decadent dishes featuring their fresh, preservative-free nuts which provide texture and flavor to anything they’re added to.
I created the totally epic, salted Maple-Bourbon Pecans featured in this salad recipe using their Pecan Halves which come in a resealable bag so they stay fresher, longer. The resealable bag also prevents dreaded pantry spills – chocolate chip and shredded coconut companies need to get with the program, right?
You can buy Fisher Nuts at Walmart, both online and in stores, and I’ve finally found them at HyVee in the baking aisle, too!
This perfect-for-entertaining salad recipe features fresh greens topped with tons of goodies (the only kinds of salads that exist in my universe.) Sliced Honeycrisp apples, thinly sliced shallots, dried cranberries, crumbled chevre, and the most incredible Maple-Bourbon Pecans which take all of 5 minutes to make.
Drizzled with homemade Red Wine Vinaigrette, it’s the perfect composed salad to serve at bridal or baby showers, or for any special occasion really, as it travels well and again, is just so beautiful.
If you don’t have a shower or spring event to attend, don’t wait to make this salad. The bold flavors would stand up well to not only grilled steak or pork tenderloin (either grilled or pan-roasted), but seared or roasted shrimp, or sauteed salmon, meaning it pairs well with pretty much whatever’s on tap for dinner tonight. Get on this one ASAP!
How to Make Maple-Bourbon Pecans:
Start by making the Maple-Bourbon Pecans. Add 2 Tablespoons brown sugar plus 1 Tablespoon each butter and pure maple syrup (not pancake syrup) to a small saucepan or skillet over medium heat then bring the mixture to a bubble.
Immediately stir in 1-1/2 teaspoons bourbon then add 1 cup Fisher Naturals Pecan Halves and stir to coat the pecans in the mixture.
Friendly reminder that you don’t need to buy a big bottle of bourbon to make these pecans (though it’d be a good excuse, wink wink!) These tiny bottles are sold almost everywhere the big bottles are and they provide just enough for a few batches of Maple-Bourbon Pecans.
Keep stirring the pecans until you feel the sugar start to adhere and crystallize around the pecans, 1-2 minutes, then spread the pecans out onto a silpat or sheet of parchment paper and immediately sprinkle with coarse sea salt. I didn’t think these pecans could get any better UNTIL I tried them sprinkled with coarse salt. OH MY WORRRRRD!!!
While the nuts are cooling, shake up the easy Red Wine Vinaigrette I’m suggesting you drizzle this salad with. This vinaigrette is tart and tangy which compliments the sweet elements in the salad, and it’s just a fabulous everyday dressing.
Add 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, 3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar, 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard, 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 small clove garlic that’s been pressed or minced, 1/2 teaspoon dried minced onions, 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper to a jar with a tight fitting lid then shake to combine.
Assembly time! To a large serving bowl add 5oz lettuce mix (I’ve used spring mix and baby spinach/arugula mix – both yum) then top with 1/4 cup dried cranberries, 2 small shallots that’ve been sliced into very thin rings, 1 thinly sliced Honeycrisp apple, and 2oz crumbled chevre. Plus of course the Maple-Bourbon Pecans! Drizzle with Red Wine Vinaigrette then toss to combine and serve.
I hope you adore this flavor-packed salad, and especially those maple-bourbon pecans (DROOL) as much as I do. Let me know if you give this recipe a try, and enjoy!
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Maple-Bourbon Pecan Salad
Maple-Bourbon Pecan Salad is no run of the mill side salad! Full of tasty toppings, including salted Maple-Bourbon Pecans (YUM), this gluten free salad recipe will impress.
- 5oz lettuce blend
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 2 small shallots, sliced into thin rings
- 1 Honeycrisp apple, thinly sliced
- 2oz chevre, crumbled
- For the Maple-Bourbon Pecans:
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
- 1-1/2 teaspoons bourbon (I use Maker’s Mark)
- 1 cup Fisher Naturals Pecan Halves
- pinch coarse sea salt
- For the Red Wine Vinaigrette:
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 small clove garlic, pressed or minced OR 1/8 teaspoon dried minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon dried minced onions
- 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- salt and pepper
- For the Maple-Bourbon Pecans: Place a silpat or piece of parchment paper on the counter then set aside. Add brown sugar, butter, and maple syrup to a small saucepan or skillet over medium heat. Once melted and bubbling, stir in bourbon then add pecans. Cook while stirring constantly until mixture begins to crystallize around the pecan halves, 1-2 minutes. Spread pecans onto prepared surface then sprinkle with coarse sea salt and cool completely.
- For the Red Wine Vinaigrette: Add all ingredients to a jar with a tight fitting lid then shake to combine and set aside. Can be done several days ahead of time.
- Add lettuce blend to a large bowl then arrange dried cranberries, shallot rings, sliced apples, chèvre, and Maple-Bourbon Pecans on top. Drizzle with dressing then toss to combine and serve.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.