This beautiful winter salad is feisty. Spicy arugula, tangy sweet apple cider overnight pickled beets, sweet and crunchy candied pecans and the bite of apple.
The beets should be prepared the night before desiring to use to allow the full affect of the vinegar and apple juice to take hold. They are slightly vinegary and also sweet from the apple juice. A reminder about working with beets, things can quickly digress to look like a murder scene with permanent reminders in clothing. I highly recommend wearing latex gloves, using a plastic cutting board and not wearing your favorite outfit (or at least cover it with an apron).
The Candied Pecans may be used as an independent recipe. They require about 45 minutes to make and 15 minutes to cool. They can be made up to 4 days beforehand. Once you make them I think you’ll find many uses and thoughts on how to tweak the seasonings for your creations.
Most vinaigrette recipes suggest 1/3 vinegar to 2/3 oil. I personally prefer much more vinegar. In this case the vinegar is diluted with the apple juice so not as tart. I suggest making it as follows then tweaking it to your taste if you’d enjoy more vinegar or more oil. This will make far more than you need for this salad but will stay fresh if kept in a sealed jar in the refrigerator. If the oil solidifies after chilling just leave it out before using or set the jar in some warm water to hasten the process.
- 1 heaping 1/3 cup of peeled, grated beets
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons apple juice (I use organic, unfiltered juice)
- 1 cup halved pecans (not pieces)
- 1 egg white
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon chile powder (preferably Ancho)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Remainder of Apple Cider vinegar pickling liquid (I had a bit over ¼ cup left)
- Equal amount of quality Olive Oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 ½ cups Arugula, rinsed and roughly torn
- 1 recipe Apple Cider Vinegar Pickled Beets
- 1 small red onion, sliced
- ½ Granny Smith apple, grated
- Apple Cider Beet Vinaigrette
- Combine all ingredients in a glass container with lid and allow to soak overnight. Remove beets with a slotted spoon and set aside for the salad recipe. Reserve liquid for Apple Cider Beet Vinaigrette.
- Heat oven to 300 degrees F.
- In a small bowl, whisk egg white until frothy. Add sugar and spices and whisk again.
- Place pecan halves in the bowl and stir to cover all pecans.
- Remove coated pecans with a small slotted spoon or fork to allow excess coating liquid to drip back into the pan and place on a cookie sheet with a silpat (or a non-stick cookie sheet, or one sprayed with non-stick coating)
- Place in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes until the nuts are golden brown, softer to the bite but not overdone (I suggesting tasting one at 25 minutes to judge). Remove and cool to room temperature.
- Put all ingredients in a sealable jar and shake vigorously.
- Place arugula on serving plate.
- Layer on pickled beets, apple and onion and top with a handful of the candied pecans.
- Dress lightly with Apple Cider Beet vinaigrette, salt and pepper as desired and enjoy.
Candied Pecan recipe adapted from Epicurious