Sunday, November 27, 2011

Fresh Cranberry & Candied Pecan Salsa

This unique fresh cranberry side dish features bright flavors and colors with pleasing textures and crunch.  Sassy, sweet & tangy, with a citrus-cilantro twist, cranberry salsa pairs perfectly with traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas entrees like turkey, ham, duck, goose and even chicken and roast pork.  My friend Nancy Difede gave me the recipe, which I made it for the first time this Thanksgiving, and it was spectacularly good with Greg's smoked turkey and oyster-sausage stuffing. I'm looking forward to making this cranberry salsa again soon and serving it with venison tenderloin.  With Nancy's permission, I'm sharing her recipe here.

The hardest part for me was making the candied pecans, because I had never melted sugar before and the instructions I found online didn't exactly work the first time around.  If you're used to making pralines or candy or otherwise melting sugar, this shouldn't be an issue for you.  Nevertheless, it's probably a good idea to follow Nancy's advice and make the candied pecans the night before serving the salsa.  I didn't have quite enough pecans so I added a few chopped walnuts to them, which turned out just fine.  Also, if you want a spicier salsa, you'll want to use two jalapeno peppers, or perhaps 1 jalapeno and 1 serrano pepper.  The single jalapeno provided just a barely discernible nip.

Ingredients for Candied Pecans
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Make the candied pecans:  Melt the sugar in a small, heavy-bottomed pot, then stir in the pecans until coated.  Remove from heat and spread the pecans on parchment paper to cool completely.  Once cool, coarsely chop into small pieces.  Set aside (or store in an airtight container) until ready to serve the salsa.

Ingredients for Cranberry Salsa
1 package (12 oz) fresh cranberries
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded & chopped
1/3 cup honey
2 Tbs fresh lime juice
1 tsp freshly grated lime zest
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions (including some of the green part)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Place the cranberries, jalapeno, honey, lime juice and lime zest in your food processor and pulse until the cranberries are chopped.  Stir in the green onions.  Transfer to a bowl, cover and chill until ready to serve.  Just before serving, stir in the chopped cilantro and candied pecans.

Zestfully yours,

PS:  If you enjoy cranberries and spicy food, you'll love the award-winning Toad Sweat Cranberry Dessert Hot Sauce, made here in North Carolina using all-natural ingredients.

PPS:  Make sure to visit this blog on Monday, November 28th, because I'll be posting an exclusive, one day only Cyber Monday coupon for the Carolina Sauces online store! The coupon will be available shortly after midnight on Monday morning, and will expire in twenty-four hours.

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