Strawberry-Balsamic Salad with Candied Pecans and Serrano Ham by Mom De Cuisine

 Strawberry-Balsamic Spinach Salad with Serrano Ham and Candied Pecans

Parenting do-overs.  Chances are, if you have children, you’ve needed at least one of these.  Last week, I needed a big one.  I had grand ideas of my children helping me make a healthy family meal.  Madison and I happened to be skimming Food Gawker looking for dinner ideas when she pointed out a strawberry-spinach salad.  ”Perfect,” I thought. Easy, healthy and something the kids can help with.  I gathered the ingredients and then the big day arrived (and by big day, I mean Monday, after school).  I had wonderful ideas delusions of chopping, mixing, and laughing in the kitchen while we made our salad.  And then reality hit.  The screaming, fighting, whining.  I’d had enough before the strawberries had even been washed.  I threw in the towel, waved the white flag and “punished” them by making dinner by myself.  But a few days, glasses of wine and time-outs later the sun was shinning, the birds were singing and I thought we’d it another go.  Somehow, by some miracle granted by the parenting gods, every one behaved.  They chopped strawberries, I mixed the dressing, and we laughed.  Parenting do-over success 🙂

 Strawberry-Balsamic Spinach Salad with Serrano Ham and Candied Pecans

Strawberry-Balsamic Salad with Candied Pecans and Serrano Ham Recipe

Serves 4-6
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 5 minutes
Total time 25 minutes
Allergy Tree Nuts
Meal type Appetizer, Condiment, Lunch, Main Dish, Salad, Side Dish, Starter
Misc Child Friendly, Gourmet, Serve Cold
Occasion Barbecue, Casual Party, Formal Party, Valentines day

Ingredients

2 cups Pecans (chopped into large pieces)
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil (good quality)
6 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
Dijon Mustard
6-8 cups Fresh Baby Spinach
tablespoon Fresh Ground Black Pepper
3-4 teaspoons Light Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Kosher Salt
2lb Strawberries (sliced)
1/4 cup Serrano Ham

Directions

Balsamic Dressing
Step 1
Wisk together the oil, vinegar, mustard, and garlic until smooth. Add black pepper to taste.
Step 2
Store dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes to allow flavors to combine

Candied Nuts
Step 3
While dressing rests, combine nuts, sugar, and salt in a pot over low heat.
Step 4
Stir the nuts continuously with a non-stick spoon until sugar melts. As soon as the sugar begins to caramelize, remove from heat and spread nuts in an even layer on parchment paper. Cool to room temperature, about five minutes.

Spinach Salad
Step 5
Pull ham into thin pieces. Combine ham with spinach and strawberries. Pour just enough dressing to lightly coat the spinach over the salad and gently toss. Top salad with 1/2 of the pecans.
Step 6
Serve salad with additional dressing and nuts on the side.