Today the sun was shining. “So“, you say. Well I am here to tell you that I have not seen the glorious sun shine for many days. In north Texas we have been experiencing cloudy, rainy, drizzly, cold, grey days for so long I’ve lost count. It was refreshing to have sun and shadows all day. Birds came out to bask in the warmth of the sun and eat seed baked by the sun. I saw tufted titmouse, American goldfinch, cedar waxwings, red-tailed hawks, Carolina chickadee, a ruby-crowned kinglet, blue jays, and quite a few others. We were all happy to see the sun shine on this day.
I needed a sunny day. It seems with the grey skies and cold we’ve been eating heavier foods and not many salads. Today was a salad day. This salad is a breeze to prepare. The dressing and sugared nuts can be prepared ahead of time making the final preparation quick and easy. Enjoy!
4 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/2 cup pecans or slivered almonds (I used pecans today)
1/4 cup vegetable oil (canola is my choice)
2 tablespoons vinegar ( I use white wine vinegar)
1 tablespoon fresh minced parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1 bunch red leaf lettuce, torn
1 11 oz. can mandarin oranges, drained
1 small red onion, sliced ( I do not use the entire onion – use your best judgement)
In a small skillet, melt 3 tablespoons sugar over low heat. When sugar begins to brown add nuts; stir until coated. Cool nuts, set aside*. In a jar with a tight fitting lid; or in a small bowl combine oil, vinegar, parsley, salt, pepper, hot pepper sauce and remaining sugar; shake well or whisk until combined. These steps may be done ahead of time.
Just before serving, combine lettuce, red onion, oranges and nuts in a large salad bowl. Shake or whisk dressing, pour over salad and toss.
*Here is a tip on cooling the nuts. Before you add them to the melting sugar, tear a piece of waxed paper and spray it with Pam or lightly rub it with oil. When you remove the nuts place them on this greased paper; otherwise your nuts will stick to the paper and removing them will not be fun.