28 July 2007

True Canadian Salad from the "Great White North"

Every elementary school child in the Eastern Canadian provinces remembers going on a field trip in the Spring to the "Sugar Bush"; walking through the forests of maple trees along the network of plastic piping where the precious tree sap flowed down hill to the shack. There it was being boiled down into maple syrup. I went with my daughters class as a "field mom " and I went in Grade 2 with my classmates like every child in Southern Ontario to learn about maple syrup production. In those days they would take the scalding hot maple syrup and throw it onto a pile of snow made just for the purpose of giving us a wonderful treat of impromptu maple syrup taffy. My daughter never had that pleasure as by then I'm sure it was considered unsanitary. Heaven forbid! They'll never know what they missed!!

I came across this recipe on the news program Canada AM. Everything about it is Canadian from the Cheddar cheese to the maple syrup in the dressing the pecans. I think I will prepare this salad for The World's Longest Barbeque on Saturday August 4th at 6:00 pm (no matter what time zone you are in). This event is our way to salute our Canadian farmers and their families by cooking with locally grown food and ingredients and letting them know they are not alone. Get a bunch of your family and friends together on your deck, patio, balcony, campsite, houseboat or wherever you are and fire up the BBQ and prepare local foods.

The recipe calls for maple sugar for the candied pecans. You may not be able to get it locally so use regular granulated sugar.

The photo is taken in the Haliburtons in Ontario when she was 5.

*Gilbertson's Signature Salad with Maple Dijon Dressing and Candied Pecans**

6 cups mixed spring green (including baby spinach)
1/2 medium red onion thinly sliced
2 small pears, cored and thinly sliced
1 cup aged white Cheddar cheese, crumbled

Arrange washed salad greens on serving platter . Top with onion and pear slices. Crumble cheddar cheese over salad and sprinkle with nuts over top. Drizzle with salad dressing.

**Maple Candied Pecans**

2 tablespoons butter
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon maple sugar
1 cup pecan halves

Melt butter in frying pan and add pepper and maple sugar. Toss pecans in butter mixture until coated well. Spread nuts out evenly on flat baking sheet and roast at 350F for 15 minutes, or until lightly toasted, stirring every 5 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.

**Maple Dijon Salad Dressing**

3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Combine all ingredients. SHAKE WELL. Store in refrigerator , shake before serving.

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  1. This sounds really good. Pears, pecans and maple...

  2. I found your recipe while randomly searching online for a salad that I could make for a Canadian-themed dinner party (I live in Detroit). I followed the recipe exactly except for the onion, which I kept out (I am not a big raw onion fan). The salad turned out wonderfully and everyone loved it. Thanks!


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