Holiday Recipe: Autumn Salad of Arugula, Persimmon and Spicy Pecans

As the clocks change and the weather cools, I get excited about Thanksgiving with my San Francisco family — and always I like to bring something that I know is healthy. Don’t get me wrong. I love rich mashed potatoes and gravy and all the other delicious traditional dishes. But I also like knowing there will be a green option.

This arugula and persimmon salad is a holiday favorite and it works well for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s or any holiday. Bonus: You can make the vinaigrette a few days in advance.

The most delicious aspect of the salad is the easy spiced pecans. (That said, if you don’t have time to go all out, just toast the nuts and skip the spices.) I blanch the pecans first for 5 seconds — it helps the spices and sugar adhere — then I fry them to give them that shiny, crispy crunch. These nuts are so good, they’d make a great hostess gift all on their own.

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I love the combination of arugula, persimmon and perhaps some pomegranate seeds, but pears or apples work well, too. Crumbled goat cheese adds a very nice finishing touch to this colorful autumn salad.

Autumn Salad of Arugula, Persimmon and Spicy Pecans

Serves 8

Pecans:

½ cup powdered sugar

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

½ teaspoon ground allspice

¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon kosher salt

2/3 cup pecans, lightly toasted

2 cups canola oil

Vinaigrette:

1 tablespoon good quality balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 shallot clove, minced

½ teaspoon sugar

¾ teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Salad:

2 ripe Fuyu persimmons or pears

Seeds of ½ a pomegranate (optional)

¾ pound arugula, watercress or spinach

4 ounces goat cheese (optional)

Directions:

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Heat oven to 350 degrees.
For the pecans: In a small bowl, mix the powdered sugar, cayenne, allspice, nutmeg and salt together. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil; add pecans and boil for 5 seconds. Drain and immediately toss thoroughly in the sugar and spice mixture.
In a frying

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle

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