Chopped Summer Salad with Pecans and Tarragon Dressing

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Want to eat like the President? Now you can. This recipe comes from White House Executive Chef Cristeta Comerford. Comerford broke many barriers when she took the post in 2005. She was first woman to serve in that position, as well as the first person of Asian descent. 


For salad:

  • 2 pound assorted summer greens, such as, arugula, frisee, bibb lettuce, romaine etc., washed and spun dry
  • 1 Cucumber, peeled, diced into 1/2-inch size
  • 4 Red radishes, sliced thinly
  • 2 Ripened tomatoes, diced into 1/2-inch size
  • 1 Red bell pepper, diced into 1/2-inch size
  • 1/2 pound green beans cut into 1 inch
  • 2 Cobs fresh corn
  • 6 Sprigs chives, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

For the pecans:

  • 1 cup pecans
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun spice

For dressing:

  • 1/2 cup tarragon vinegar
  • 2 Lemons, juice
  • 1 Shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup avocado oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Step 1:

  • For the salad components, wash all the lettuces and tear into bite size pieces. Blanch the fresh green beans in salted boiling water for five minutes. Place in a bowl of iced water to stop the cooking process. Drain and set aside. Pan roast the corn kernels on a preheated sauté pan with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Step 2:

  • Meanwhile, toss the pecans, honey, brown sugar and Cajun spice in a bowl and place on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake in a preheated oven (250 degrees) for 30 minutes. Toss every 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Step 3:

  • For the dressing, combine the tarragon vinegar, lemon juice and shallots in a bowl with a whisk. Slowly whisk in the avocado oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Step 4:

  • To assemble, in a large mixing bowl, place all the salad greens. Add all the chopped vegetables and herbs. Add the candied pecans. Pour just enough dressing to slightly coat the salad. Season with salt and pepper. Toss lightly and serve immediately.