Carol’s Summer Salad

The only thing worth remembering about my ex, is his mom’s Summer Salad recipe. This salad is best served chilled, so keep everything in the fridge and assemble immediately before serving. Substitute your favorite seasonal fruit for the mandarin oranges or strawberries. Berries, fresh oranges, and ruby red grapefruit offer delicious and colorful variations or additions. If you prefer a more savory salad, crumble in 3 ounces of goat cheese when you toss the salad, or distribute it equally over individual plates.

8-12 servings.

2 cups unsalted pecan or almond pieces
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
6 tablespoons sugar
1 head romaine lettuce, washed, dried, torn and chilled
1 bunch spinach, baby if possible, washed, dried, torn and chilled
1/2 cup scallions, chopped
1/2 cup celery, diced
16 ounce can mandarin oranges, chilled
1 pint fresh strawberries, sliced and chilled
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup Agrumato olive oil pressed with tangerines or oranges, if available (see NOTES, below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Keep your greens and fruit in the refrigerator until you’re ready to toss them.

Combine red wine vinegar, 3 tablespoons sugar and olive oil in a jar. Put in refrigerator to chill while you complete the rest of the steps.

Combine butter and 4 tablespoons sugar thoroughly in a medium-sized bowl. Add nuts. Stir to coat.

Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spread nut mixture evenly on a foil. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.

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Remove from oven. NOTE: When you take the nuts out of the oven, there will be a lot of melty toffee stuff all over the pan. Mix the nuts as they cool, or you’ll end up with a giant praline instead of candied nuts. As the nut mixture cools, it may be necessary to break it apart with a spoon or spatula every few minutes. Don’t go crazy with this step (I almost said “nuts”) just enough to free the nuts from the extra hardened brittle. Allow nuts to cool completely.

Combine spinach, scallions, celery, oranges, strawberries and nuts in a large salad bowl. Pour oil mixture over salad and toss gently. Serve immediately.

NOTES

We’re big fans of Agrumato fruit-pressed olive oil here at Out of the Frying Pan. It’s expensive (about $20 for a 7 ounce bottle), but a little goes a long way. If you compare it to buying a bottle of wine and consider how much longer it will last, it’s easy to view as a worthwhile investment. Agrumato crushes citrus with the olives rather than infusing the oil resulting in a smoother fruitalicious kick. Imported by Manicaretti, Agrumato is available in four varieties each in a handsome bottle: lemon, orange, tangerine and lemon & herbs.

For this recipe, if you can’t find Agrumato, pick an olive oil infused with tangerines or oranges. Failing that, add 2 teaspoons fresh orange zest in plain olive oil.



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