Long before chef Jamie Oliver crossed the pond to healthy-up American schools, he made his mark whipping up good local grub. (He grew up cooking in his dad's pub in Essex, England.) In his new book, Jamie's America: Easy Twists on Great American Classics, and More (Hyperion; $37.50), the London-based chef-who is a married father of three girls (with another baby on the way)-eats his way across the States, sharing his take on our best regional dishes. We love his sweet and tangy Georgia salad recipe:
Southern Pecan and Apple Salad
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1cup pecan halves
3 teaspoons orange zest
Juice of 1 orange
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
2 medium red or green apples, cored, quartered, and thinly sliced
2 heads Belgian endive, separated into leaves
2 cups mixed greens (such as arugula and radicchio)
Makes: 6 servings
1. Lightly rub a cookie sheet with olive oil; set aside. Heat a large saucepan over low heat; add butter and sugar. Simmer a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally, until sugar has completely dissolved and the mixture darkens. Gently stir in pecans until well-coated; be careful not to splash yourself. Transfer nuts to cookie sheet; use the back of a spoon to separate them into one layer. Allow to cool so caramel hardens.
2. Combine orange zest, orange juice, mustard, vinegar, and oil in a large salad bowl; stir well with a whisk. Have a taste-you want a nice balance between the vinegar and the oil. Adjust, if needed, and season with salt and pepper.
3. Add apples and greens to dressing. Break cooled pecans apart; add half to bowl. Toss mixture gently with your hands. Top with remaining crumbled pecans. Divide among 6 plates; serve.
Calories 300; Fat 23g (sat 4g, mono 13g, poly 4g); Cholesterol 10mg; Protein 2g; Carbohydrate 26g; Sugars 20g; Fiber 4g; Iron 1mg; Sodium 28mg; Calcium 40mg
From JAMIE'S AMERICA, by Jamie Oliver. Copyright Jamie Oliver, 2009, 2010. Photographs by David Loftus. Copyright, 2009, 2010. Published by Hyperion. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.