Spring Greens Salad With Bellwether Farms Pepato Cheese,  Candied Pecans, And Pickled Red Onions

Pairs perfectly with Rodney Strong 2012 Estate Charlotte's Home Sauvignon Blanc

Recipe by Chef Jeff Mall

Pickled Red Onion
1 cup rice wine vinegar
1 cup red wine vinegar
1⁄2 cup sugar
1 bay leaf
10 black peppercorns
Pinch of kosher salt
1 red onion, thinly sliced

Candied Pecans
2 cups maple syrup
1 cup pecan pieces
Kosher salt for sprinkling

Mustard Vinaigrette
1 tablespoon brown mustard, such as Gulden’s
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
2 teaspoons minced fresh marjoram
2 teaspoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons canola oil
3 drops hot sauce, such as Tabasco
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

8 cups mixed baby greens
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
8 ounces Bellwether Farms pepato cheese, cut into 8 thin wedges (if unavailable, a Tuscan-style aged sheep’s milk cheese may be substituted)

For the pickled red onion: In a small nonreactive saucepan, combine the vinegars, sugar, bay leaf, peppercorns, and salt.  Bring to a boil over high heat. Put the onion slices in a nonreactive bowl and pour the vinegar mixture over them. Let cool. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 1 week.

For the candied pecans: Preheat the oven to 300°F. In a small saucepan, combine the syrup and pecans. Bring to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Drain (reserving the syrup for another use) and spread the pecans on a baking sheet. Bake until dry and lightly browned, 30 minutes. Sprinkle lightly with salt.

For the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk the mustard, shallot, vinegar, marjoram, parsley, and garlic together. Gradually whisk in the olive oil and canola oil. Season with the hot sauce, salt, and pepper.

In a large bowl, toss the greens with the vinaigrette to coat. Season with salt and pepper and toss again. Divide the greens among 4 salad plates and top each salad with some of the pickled onions and pecans. Place 2 cheese wedges alongside each salad and serve. Makes 4 first-course servings