Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Salmon Salad with Candied Pecans

When it comes to salads, what kind of person are you?  Are you the type that would be content with a hefty pile of leafy greens, piled with cheese, eggs, fruit and or various other veggies?  OR, are you the type that has to have meat, in some form or fashion somewhere on the plate?
I would fall in the first group.  Place a big ol' salad full of fruits and veggies in front of me and I am one happy girl.  Now, Spencer, on the other hand has to have meat with his salad.  No, it's not a mind thing, believe it or not, it's a matter of needing the food to stay with him longer than 2-3 hours.  Although, a few years ago, it would have been a matter of being a mind thing because in his head a meal wasn't complete unless there was meat on the plate.  He's grown out of that thought process but still needs a hearty meal.
So when I make salads for supper I make sure that it's a hearty salad packed full of all the good stuff, and even if I don't want a piece of protein with mine I make sure there is some on his plate.  But, this is one of those salads that I don't forgo the protein.  This is one of my all-time favorite salads.  I first had this salad at Carinos, and let me say, it was love at first bite!  Ever since that first taste, I crave this salad on a weekly basis.  But, we all know that eating out on a regular basis can get kind of costly.  And, secondly, the Carinos that was all of 2 minutes from my house has closed. 
So, in an attempt to save money both in the food bill and gas bill I've actually made my very own version of my favorite salad from Carinos, honey pecan crusted salmon salad.  A bed of mixed greens, topped with red onion, sun dried tomatoes, capers, feta and a beautiful filet of salmon that's topped with candied pecans and dressed in a lemon balsamic vinaigrette.  Yes, my mouth waters at the thought of this salad.  It's the perfect combination; fresh fish, sweet, salty, tangy and crunchy.  This is a salad that will leave your taste buds singing and your stomach full and content.

Salmon Salad with Candied Pecans

12 Oz Salmon filet, or 2 (6oz) salmon filets
4 Cups mixed lettuce, divided
1/4 Large red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 Cup sun dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
3 Tbsp capers
1/4 Cup Feta cheese crumbles

For the candied pecans-
3/4 Cup pecan halves, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/4 Cup brown sugar

For the lemon balsamic vinaigrette-
1/4 Cup lemon white balsamic vinegar
1/2 Cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp honey
Pinch salt


Preheat oven to 375.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Place the salmon filet(s) on the prepared baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Place in the preheated oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes, until cooked through.  Remove from oven and set aside.

For the pecans-
Meanwhile, place butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Once the butter has melted, add the pecans and brown sugar and toss or stir continuously to coat, about 3-5 minutes, until the sugar has coated the pecans.  Transfer to a baking sheet into a single layer and set aside.

For the balsamic vinaigrette-
Combine lemon white balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and honey in a bowl and whisk to combine.  Add a pinch of salt and whisk once more. 

To assemble-
Divide lettuce evenly between two plates.  Divide the red onions, sun dried tomatoes, capers and feta between the two plates.  Top each bed of lettuce with a salmon filet.  Evenly divide the pecans over each piece of salmon.  Drizzle with the vinaigrette and serve.  I served mine with toasted garlic bread.

Recipe source: Inspired by Honey-Pecan Crusted Salmon Salad from Carinos

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