For vinaigrette, combine chile with water to cover in small saucepan; heat to boiling and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Drain habañero pepper and combine with vinegar, syrup, jelly and shallot in blender container. With blender running, add oil very slowly until emulsified. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper to taste.
For caramelized pecans, combine egg white and brown sugar in small bowl and whisk lightly. Add pecans and toss until well mixed. Turn mixture onto a baking sheet and bake in a 350°F oven for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned, tossing at least once with a spatula or spoon to brown evenly.
For salad, divide baby greens into equal portions and arrange on 4 individual triangle-shaped plates. Arrange raisins, orange segments, pecans and 2 wedges of tomato on a corner of each plate. Sprinkle with cheese; drizzle with vinaigrette and garnish with tortilla strips.
Chef’s Note: Use more jelly for a sweeter sauce and add a pinch of cayenne, cumin and chili powder for that unique Southwestern flavor.
To plump raisins, combine enough of a mixture of equal parts apple juice and white port to cover and allow to stand for at least 1 hour.
Prickly Pear-Habañero Vinaigrette
- 1 dry habañero pepper
- 3/4 Cup red wine vinegar
- 3 Tablespoons prickly pear syrup
- 1/4 Cup prickly pear jelly*
- 1 medium shallot, chopped
- 2 Cups salad oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 egg white, lightly whipped
- 1/2 Cup brown sugar
- 2 Cups pecan halves
- 5 Ounces (about 2 cups) mixed baby field greens
- 1/4 Cup California golden raisins, plumped
- 1 Cup canned mandarin oranges, drained
- 1/4 Cup Caramelized Pecans (recipe above)
- 2 Roma tomatoes, each cut into 4 wedges
- 1/4 Cup crumbled queso fresco cheese
- 1/2 Cup Prickly Pear-Habañero Vinaigrette (recipe above)
- 2 Cups fried julienne tricolored corn tortilla strips