If You’re Going to Make a Salad, Make It A “Baby Blue”
We were celebrating my friend Kim’s birthday yesterday during our weekly dressmaking get-together.
Now, regular potluck meals on dressmaking Fridays are always good. Birthday meals, however, are a step above. Yesterday was no exception.
For instance, instead of chili or something similar, Sarah, who hosted, made Chipotle Mac and Cheese. It was ooey gooey goodness with two cups of molten cheddar, bites of chipotle mixed in for good measure and finished off with a Panko and garlic bread crumb topping.
WARNING to thighs, abs and rear ends everywhere: This mac and cheese dish is not healthy in any conceivable way, and is utterly addictive. Once you take a forkful, take another one right away and slap it directly on your hips to remind yourself of where this will show up the next morning.
I was on salad duty. Typically, I might make a relatively simple Caesar salad or a garbage salad from whatever I have in the fridge, which, naturally, is not actually garbage, but it’s not extremely special either. Being that we were celebrating Kim’s birthday, and that Kim is extremely special, I dug through my salad recipes and whipped out this extremely special Baby Blue Salad recipe. I’ve made it many times, however, like a lot of other recipes in my file that are left untouched for months, I haven’t made it lately, so it was about time to let it shine once more.
The base of a Baby Blue salad is your standard mix of greens. The toppings are what really elevate this salad into “Wowee!” status. Sliced oranges and strawberries give it sweetness while chunks of blue cheese, bacon, chicken and spiced candied pecans lend it savory flavor galore.
There are three parts to this salad recipe:
- The salad itself.
- Making the sweet and spicy pecans.
- And a delectable homemade balsamic dressing.
That said, if you’re not feeling particularly domestic, feel free to buy bottled balsamic dressing and glazed pecans from the store. And while I baked my bacon in the oven, you can buy premade bagged bacon and even chicken. Unlike Ina Garten, I don’t really give two rare Mediterranean sheep eyeballs.
Okay, enough folderol. On to the specifics of this delicious recipe.
Recipe courtesy of: Southern Living (adapted)
Here’s the handy printable version for the salad:
Baby Blue Salad
- 5oz mixed spring salad greens
- 2oz crumbled blue cheese
- 1 orange (peeled, and sliced)
- 1/2 pint fresh strawberries (quartered)
- 1 cup cooked chicken (cubed)
- 4 strips of bacon (cooked and crumbled)
- 1/2 cup sweet and spicy pecans
- 1/2 cup balsamic dressing
|Toss together first 7 ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle with 1/2 cup Balsamic Vinaigrette, gently tossing to coat. Serve with remaining vinaigrette.|
Here’s the printable recipe for the pecans:
Sweet and Spicy Pecans
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 cup pecan halves
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
- 2 tablespoons sugar
|Stir together 1/4 cup sugar and warm water until sugar dissolves. Add pecans; soak 10 minutes. Drain; discard liquid. |
|Combine 2 tablespoons sugar, chili powder, and red pepper. Add pecans; toss to coat. Place pecans in a single layer on a lightly greased baking sheet.|
|Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until golden brown, stirring once. |
And here’s the printable for the balsamic dressing:
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 2 garlic cloves (minced)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 Small shallots (minced)
- 1 cup olive oil
|Whisk together first 7 ingredients until blended. Gradually whisk in olive oil, blending well. |
Is this salad fussy?
Is it worth it?