Endive, Pear & Fennel Salad with Spiced Pecans

Join our Culinary Director, Deb Traylor, in the Teaching Kitchen as she shares easy and delicious recipes for holiday entertaining: fun-to-give spiced pecans and a beautiful winter salad with fennel, endive, pears and blue cheese.

Spiced Pecans

Makes about 4 1/2 cups

  • 1 lb. pecans, about 4 heaping cups
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 cups water

Preheat oven to 325°F. Bring water and sugar to a boil, add pecans and bring back to a boil for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

Combine 1/3 cup sugar, salt, cumin, black pepper, paprika and cayenne in a large bowl. Pour blanched pecans into the bowl and mix thoroughly. Transfer nuts to a rimmed baking sheet pan and evenly spread the nuts apart. Bake for 15 minutes, stir, bake for an additional 15 minutes, stir again, then bake for 5 minute intervals until they are crisp.

Notes:

  • It takes a while for the nuts to dry out and the best way to tell if they’re done is to remove one and let it cool before seeing if it is crisp. Hot nuts are not crunchy.
  • Feel free to add more sugar or salt, or a variety of spice combinations:
    • Cinnamon, cocoa, salt and cayenne
    • Garlic salt, rosemary, black pepper (use only a few tablespoons of sugar for this combo)
    • Add a few tablespoons of Tikka Masala powder to the original recipe

Endive, Pear & Fennel Salad

1 large bulb of fennel
2 ripe pears
2 medium heads Belgian endive
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/2 cup Spiced Pecans (recipe above)

Using a mandoline or sharp knife, thinly slice fennel bulb and pears. Add both to a large bowl with endive leaves and a few fennel fronds. Drizzle with olive oil and white balsamic vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste. Arrange salad on plates and sprinkle with blue cheese and spiced pecans. Makes 4 servings