Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Spinach Salad with Mango, Strawberries and Candied Pecans

(photo from
Is a salad just a salad? Or can it be lifted to some higher elevation of flavor. Well, obviously I think the latter. Why didn't I think of this combination myself? I just never would have thought to put fresh mango in a salad. But putting it with spinach is just a marriage made in heaven. Strawberries aren't too unusual in salads these days - I've seen them listed often in magazines and cookbooks.

I've mentioned Phillis Carey before - the cooking instructor. She's another one of Cherrie's and my favorite teachers. This is one of her recipes. And a lovely one it is. Nothing difficult. You can make the candied pecans ahead of time, the fruit can be sliced and refrigerated a few hours before, and Trader Joe's carries baby spinach pre-washed. So it's a cinch to put together with the balsamic and orange juice dressing. It's the mangoes, though, that "make" this salad in my view. Mangoes have such a unique piquant, tart and sweet taste all at the same time.

Remembering the first time I ate fresh mango transports me to the Philippines in 1965. How I got there and why will make for another story when I tell you about how to make lumpia, a sensational appetizer that is ubiquitous (to me, anyway) with that country. Mangoes are as everyday there as perhaps apples are to us. And those were the most juicy succulent mangoes I've ever had in my life. Because of that introduction to mangoes, I've enjoyed the fruit ever since. So I just loved this salad when it was served to me and have made it many times since.

Spinach Salad with Mango, Strawberries and Candied Pecans
Recipe: Phillis Carey
Servings: 8
Balsamic Dressing:
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 dash Tabasco sauce
3 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Spinach Salad:
12 ounces spinach leaves -- baby spinach if possible
1 whole mango -- peeled and cubed
1 cup strawberries, sliced
3 tablespoons green onions -- minced
Candied Pecans:
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 cup pecan halves
1. Dressing: Whisk vinegar, orange juice, Tabasco and sugar in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside for 30 minutes at room temperature of chill up to 24 hours.
2. Pecans: Preheat oven to 350°. Place pecans on a large baking sheet and toast them for just a few minutes, about 3-5 at the most, until they are just barely toasted. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
3. In a medium sized skillet with a heavy bottom, stir together the sugar, oil and vinegar over medium heat until the sugar melts and the syrup bubbles. Meanwhile, prepare a large baking sheet with a sheet of parchment paper in it and have it ready near the range. Add the pecans and stir continuously until the nuts are warmed through and the syrup coats the nuts evenly, about 3 minutes. When the color of the shiny syrup begins to dull, or you smell the sure sign of burning, remove the nuts and pour out onto the parchment lined pan. Using a fork, separate the nuts and allow to cool completely. These will store for 2 days in an airtight container.
4. Salad: Place spinach in a large salad bowl and top with mango cubes, strawberries and green onions. Pour on half of the dressing and gently toss to combine, adding more dressing just to coat the leaves. Divide salad among plates and sprinkle each with a few candied pecans.
Per Serving: 253 Calories; 20g Fat (67.5% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 20g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 28mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 1/2 Fruit; 4 Fat; 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.
To view a printable recipe, click on title at top.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I made this twice in a week. It is fantastic.
Linda from Carlsbad