Arugula salad with spicy pecan praline, dried cranberries

This Feb. 27, 2018, photo shows components of an arugula salad with spicy pecan praline, dried cranberries and aged gouda in New York. Each of the ingredients brings its own unique taste and texture to the mix, but the standout is the praline. (Sara Moulton via AP)

Start to finish: 35 minutes

Serves: 6

For the praline:

1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or more to taste

1/4 cup sugar

For the dressing:

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon sherry wine vinegar

Kosher salt

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper

For the salad:

8 cups loosely packed arugula

3/4 cup coarsely grated aged gouda

1/2 cup dried cranberries

Make the praline: Lightly oil a baking sheet. In a small bowl toss the pecans with the salt and cayenne. Place the sugar in a heavy skillet or saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar starts to melt. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the sugar turns a golden caramel. Add the pecan mixture and, using a heatproof spatula or spoon, stir to combine well.

Carefully pour the pecan praline onto the sheet pan (the mixture will be very hot) and spread evenly with an oiled offset spatula. Let cool completely. Crack the praline into pieces and medium-chop it.

Make the dressing: In a bowl whisk together the mustard, vinegar and salt to taste, until the salt is dissolved. Add the oil in a stream, whisking, until all the oil is incorporated. Taste and add additional salt, if necessary, and black pepper to taste.

Make the salad: In a large bowl combine the arugula, gouda, cranberries and praline. Add the dressing and toss well.

Nutritional information per serving: 245 calories; 168 calories from fat; 19 g fat (4 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 14 mg cholesterol; 275 mg sodium; 17 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 15 g sugar; 5 g protein.

Sara Moulton, Associated Press