Spinach Salad with Persimmons & Spiced Pecans

There is nothing more beautiful on the holiday table than lush, dark leafy spinach tossed with flaming orange persimmons and mahogany pecans. This salad is a wonderful combination of tastes and textures as well as colors, and balances nicely with the rich foods of the Thanksgiving table.
Fall and Winter Holiday Salad.
Yield 6 servings

1 tablespoon butter (plus more to butter baking sheet)
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon-ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 pinch of nutmeg
1 cup shelled pecan halves
1 pound small young spinach leaves
3 fuyu persimmons, cut in quarters lengthwise, sliced into thin discs
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons white wine or champagne vinegar
7 tablespoons mild flavored olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

1 Butter a baking sheet lightly. Melt the tablespoon of butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the water, brown, sugar, salt, & spices. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add nuts to the mixture and cook until the nuts are coated, stirring, about 5 minutes. Transfer nuts to buttered baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes, until golden and crisp. Set aside to cool.

2 Wash and dry the spinach leaves and place them in a large bowl with the persimmon discs. Set aside.

3 Combine the shallots, lemon juice and vinegar in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil in a small stream until well blended. Season with salt and pepper.

notes Baby spinach is good, but larger leaves are fine as long as they aren't too tough.
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