This salad is out of this world! It satisfies all your tastes...sweet, sour, salty and bitter. The slightly thick, sweet and pungent poppy seed dressing, mild bitterness of certain varieties of greens, salty-sweet candied pecans and tangy bleu cheese crumbles make this salad irresistible!
Wash and thoroughly dry spring/mesclun mix salad greens and baby spinach. Tear any large salad leaves into bite-size pieces. Place in a serving bowl. Remove the stems and caps from washed strawberries; discard; quarter the strawberries. Add to the greens and toss. Add bleu cheese crumbles to salad. Break part of 1 - 1 1/2 cups candied pecans in large pieces and leave others in halves; add to salad and toss. Serve salad drizzled with Poppy Seed Dressing. Arrange red onion slices on top of salad, if desired.
2For Poppy Seed Dressing:
In a blender or food processor, combine 1/3 cup sugar, vinegar, 1 tsp. salt, mustard and onion powder and process for 30 seconds. With blender or food processor on High, gradually add oil in a steady stream. Stir in poppy seeds.
3For Candied Pecans:
Preheat oven to 300°F.
Put 1/2 cup sugar, cinnamon, 3/4 tsp. salt, ground cloves, and ground nutmeg in a plastic bag, shake to mix. Put egg, water, and vanilla in a bowl. Beat until slightly foamy, add pecans and coat well. Lift pecans out of bowl with a slotted spoon and put into the bag of sugar and spices. Shake pecans in bag making sure they are well coated. Bake 30 minutes on a baking pan lined with Silpat (Silicone baking sheet), parchment paper or lightly greased aluminum foil. 15 minutes into the baking, stir up the pecans with a fork. Let cool completely before serving. Store in an airtight container.
Makes about 2 cups. Use about 1 - 1 1/2 cups candied pecan halves in the salad.