Last month, I went on a blogging trip to Vermont sponsored by Coombs Family Farms (more about that here), and we were treated to an entire maple-themed dinner at the Chesterfield Inn. Maple cocktails. Maple walnut bread. Beef tenderloin with smoked bacon and maple demi-glace. Grilled salmon with maple sugar dry spice rub and cinnamon maple butter. Roasted chicken breast with a bourbon, maple and soy glaze. Maple creme brulée.
An embarrassment of maple riches.
But do you know what recipe all of us asked for? The salad dressing.
This Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette is sweet and tangy, a perfect all-purpose dressing. I first tasted it on the inn’s simple green salad, with cherry tomatoes, bacon and thinly sliced red onion, but it works just as deliciously on this Arugula and Apple Salad with crumbled goat cheese and curried pecans. And I’m sure it will be incredible drizzled over spinach and ripe strawberries in just a few weeks.
Shake it up in a jelly jar, keep it in the fridge, and pour it on everything green.
Arugula and Apple Salad
Adapted from “Southern Living” (December 2009)
Makes 8 servings
Sugared Curried Pecans:
- 1 (6-oz.) package pecan halves
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
- 1 (10-oz.) package arugula or fresh baby spinach, thoroughly washed
- 1 Gala apple, thinly sliced
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced (optional)
- 1 (4-oz.) package crumbled goat cheese
- Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette (recipe above)
- To Prepare the Pecans: Preheat oven to 350°. Toss pecans in butter. Stir together sugar and next 4 ingredients in a bowl; add pecans, tossing to coat. Spread in a single layer in a nonstick aluminum foil-lined pan. Bake 10 to 13 minutes or until lightly browned and toasted. Cool in pan on a wire rack 20 minutes; separate pecans with a fork.
- Combine arugula and next 3 ingredients in a bowl. Drizzle with desired amount of Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette; toss to coat. Sprinkle with pecans. Serve salad with any remaining vinaigrette.
Note: Pecans may be made up to 1 week ahead. Store in an airtight container.
Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette
Slightly adapted from Coombs Family Farm
- 1/3 cup part canola oil and part olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup Coombs Family Farm Maple Syrup
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Whisk together all of the ingredients, or shake them in a jelly jar until well combined. Cover and chill until ready to serve.