A unique and impressive starter course, this grapes and pecan salad is also a wonderful snack that you can easily prepare. Add lots of cheese for the ultimate experience.
Believe it or, I made this salad using leftovers from our Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve dinners.
Speedy, who grew up with the tradition of greeting the New Year with round fruits in every size (yes, based on a Chinese superstition), bought so many fruits days before the year ended. He chose the not so ripe ones so that we only need to cut open which has ripened and leave the rest until they reach their peak state. We’re still waiting for the watermelon and honeydew to ripen. The grapes needed to be consumed fast.
We had a cold platter for Christmas Eve that we served with toasted pistachio, almonds and pecans. When we stored the leftovers, the nuts went into different resealable bags. The bag that contained the pecans, I brought into my study to snack on.
When I decided to use the grapes for a salad, I was about to reach for an unopened bag of almonds in the freezer when I remembered the bag of pecans on my desk. I took a little detour (my study is right next to the kitchen so it was a very short detour), snagged the bag of pecans and started making my grapes and pecan salad.
This salad contains cheese. My original intention was to use crumbled feta but I couldn’t locate the feta in the fridge. So, I used raclette which turned out to be a great choice.
For the vinaigrette
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
- grated zest of 1/4 lemon or lime
- 1 pinch dried minced onion (available in the spice section of the grocery)
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 tiny pinch salt
- 1 pinch pepper
For the salad
- 4 to 6 cups seedless grapes
- 1 to 1 and 1/2 cups toasted pecans
- 50 to 70 grams cheese (hard or semi-hard cheeses are recommended)
- 8 to 10 stalks scallions root ends cut off and discraded
- Start by making the vinaigrette to allow the flavors to develop. Just place all the ingredients in a small jar with a screw-type cap, screw on the cap tightly and shake until the salt is fully dissolved.
- Cut the grapes into halves.
- Roughly chop the pecans.
- Shred the cheese (I used the large holes of a box grater).
- Finely slice the scallions.
- Place all the salad ingredients in a bowl and toss lightly.
- Drizzle in the vinaigrette and give a salad a few more tosses.
- Serve the grapes and pecan salad immediately. Or, better still, cover the bowl and chill the salad for half an hour. Give the salad a final toss before serving.