Friday, February 6, 2009

Spinich Salad w/ Candied Cashews

The cashews give the salad a nice sweet crunch. You can make your cashews ahead, and store them in an airtight container until needed to save some time at dinner.

For the Cashews
1/2 cup cashews (roasted is ok)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 pinch salt (if your cashews are not salted)

Preheat oven to 300F (you can prepare your cashews several days ahead).
In a small saucepan, mix together cashews, sugar, and water over medium heat until sugar dissolves.
Cook and stir for about 15 minutes, or until mixture crystallizes.
Spread the cashews onto parchment paper on a baking sheet (season with salt now if needed).
Bake 15 minutes, then stir mixture.
Bake 15 minutes more, then cool cashews before storing in an airtight container (until needed).

For the Salad
8 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves, rinsed and dried
2 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and quartered
1/2 cup chopped baby portabella mushrooms (crimini)
1/4 cup dried cranberries, dried cherries or raisins
1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Place spinach into salad bowl.
Top with hard cooked eggs, mushrooms, dried fruit, and candied cashews.
Juice the lemon.
Whisk together the lemon juice, salt, pepper, dijon mustard, and sugar, adjusting sugar to taste.
Slowly add olive oil and whisk until dressing emulsifies.
Serve dressing over salad as desired.

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