Sunday, January 28, 2007

Dixieland Delight

Whenever I cook with my parents, I always try to force healthy foods onto their menu. This salad was their single concession to me for this weekend's feast. Of course, it's probably a gross misrepresentation to call it "healthy." What I mean when I say "healthy" is actually "the color green, coated in sugary goodness." I'm told there are vitamins in there somewhere.

Winter salads are so hot right now, so having discovered several items of interest in my parents' pantry, I decided to come up with one of my own. The bad news is that when trying to make a fresh and exciting salad in a tiny South Georgia town, you don't exactly have a lot in the way of ingredients. You have exactly two grocery options and both of them are identified by some version of the word "dixie." The good news is that you also are in the mayhaw capital of the world, and you have jars upon jars of the finest jelly sitting around.

We had company over for dinner that night, and this salad (which Dad insists we call "leafy greens tossed with red onions, Washington apples, toasted South Georgia pecans, and Miller County mayhaw vinaigrette; I guess we're unsure of the onion's origin, or maybe it wasn't pretentious-sounding enough) was the surprising star of the show. Pretty good for people who won't eat their vegetables.

Winter Salad

For the Salad:
1 head endive, chopped
1 small bag of fresh spinach
2 apples, cored and sliced thin
1 red onion, sliced
1 cup toasted pecans

For the Dressing:
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp. white wine vinegar
4 tbsp. mayhaw jelly
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 cup pecan oil
salt and pepper to taste

Combine garlic, vinegars, jelly, and sugar in a small bowl. Mix in the sugar. Gradually whisk in the pecan oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss the salad ingredients with enough dressing to coat.