God bless The Beagle Pub. It was the very first pub I went to on my 19th birthday in Victoria, where I had lunch with three policemen. I had been arrested earlier that morning for farting on a baby, but the charges were later dropped when the baby correctly identified Kristen Wiig next to me in a lineup.
APRIL FOOLS! Sort of. I actually did have lunch with three policemen but I did not fart on a baby (although I’m sure I have indirectly at some point). A family friend had stopped in town for work and took me out for lunch, bringing his two coworkers. I felt very cool. The (always kind) waitress passed down her best advice on how to survive your first hangover (lots of aspirin, doy) and I ordered the Candied Pecan & Apple Salad for the very first time.
I rarely order salads at restaurants because quantity is always a concern. I need to leave the restaurant full, nourished, and maybe with a gut. But this salad has proved itself. The portion demands respect and the flavours are fresh. Tart apple, smoky cheese, and sweet, crunchy pecans – all drizzled with an apple & fig vinaigrette. You can’t fuck up that combo. The Beagle Pub knows what they’re doing, and since I can’t live in their kitchen, I’ve tried my best to recreate this part of their solid menu.
- green leaf lettuce (or a delightful spring mix)
- 1 Granny Smith apple
- candied pecans (recipe below)
- 1 small wedge applewood smoked cheddar
- handful cherry tomatoes
- fig balsamic dressing (I bought Rising Sun Farms)
- 1 cup pecan halves
- 1 1/2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons water
- 1/8 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, water, vanilla and salt (sugar and salt may not completely dissolve – it’s cool). Set aside. You’ll need this soon.
In a medium sized pan over medium heat, toast pecans for 2-3 minutes or until you smell nuts. Meaning the pecans.*
*If you smell any other kind of nut, something bad is about to happen.
Drizzle the brown sugar mixture into the pan and stir to coat the pecans completely, about 15 seconds. Remove from heat quickly.
Spread the pecans over a parchment-lined cookie sheet to cool, then break apart. You done.
Cut the apple in half, then use a paring knife to cut into thin pieces.
Slice smoked cheddar into small matchsticks. Assemble apple, cheddar, pecans and cherry tomatoes over lettuce and drizzle with fig balsamic (or your dressing of choice).
…And this DOESN’T mean I’m on a diet.
Recipe inspired by The Beagle Pub & Candied Pecan recipe from Two Healthy Kitchens