Recipe from: Connie Johnson.
FOR SPICED PECANS
2 cup pecans
1 egg white
¾ teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon water
1 cup salad oil
1/3 cup cider vinegar
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon celery seed
2 tablespoons corn syrup
Note: I have omitted corn syrup on occasion with little affect to the dressing.
6 cups fresh spinach, washed and dried (I use 1 ½ bags pre-washed baby spinach)
2 cups strawberries, sliced, not halved or quartered, Slicing the berries releases more of their natural sweetness and gives more surface for the dressing to cling to.
Note: use any fruit desired for color such as canned and drained mandarin oranges.
¾ cup red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
1 cup fresh mushrooms (optional)
Make spiced pecans. Beat egg white until frothy, but not stiff.
Add remaining ingredients, excluding pecans. Now add pecans and mix to coat. Spread pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in a preheated 200 degree oven for 45 minutes, turning every 15 minutes (for individual salads, this extra step is worth the effort, however if you are serving buffet-style you can omit the turning and just break the pecans apart after baking and cooling) Use I/2 of the pecan mixture for salad and store remaining ½ in an airtight container for use with other salads.
For the dressing, shake together all ingredients. Just before serving, spoon desired amount of dressing over salad, toss and sprinkle with spiced pecans. When serving this salad buffet-style, I toss the pecans together with the other salad ingredients.