Apple and Fennel Salad with Cider Vinaigrette

Ingredients: 

1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. apple cider or apple juice
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. honey
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 Gala apples
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 head dark leafy green or red lettuce, leaves separated, washed and dried
1/2 small red onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced (1/8-inch)
1 small fresh fennel bulb, trimmed, thinly sliced

Preparation:
Toast the pecans in a skillet over high heat until they take on a slightly toasted taste. Depending on the type of skillet used and the intensity of the heat, this may take only a minute or two. Stir or gently shake the pan to avoid burning the nuts. As soon as the pecans are toasted, immediately transfer them to a small bowl and set them aside. The nuts can also be toasted on a baking sheet in a preheated 400-degree oven for about 5 minutes; watch them carefully to avoid burning.

Next, prepare the vinaigrette. In a blender or using a bowl and a whisk, mix the olive oil, cider vinegar, cider, nutmeg, ginger, honey, salt and pepper. Set the vinaigrette aside.

Core, seed and cut the apples into thin slices. To prevent discoloration, place the slices into a bowl containing water and a small amount of lemon juice.

On six salad plates, arrange the lettuce leaves so that the stem ends are facing the center. Drain the apple slices and pat them dry with paper towels.

Alternating slices of apple, onion and fennel, arrange the three ingredients over the lettuce. Sprinkle with pecans. Lightly drizzle the vinaigrette over the salads and serve.

Nutrition per serving:
Servings: 6
160 calories, 9 g total fat (1 g saturated fat), 21 g carbohydrate,
2 g protein, 3 g dietary fiber, 90 mg sodium