- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup pecan pieces
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon Essence
- 1 cup diced unpeeled Granny Smith apples, tossed with lemon juice to prevent discoloration
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon chopped shallots
- 1 teaspoon Kentucky bourbon
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 head Kentucky bibb lettuce, separated into leaves, washed and spun dry
- 1 bunch watercress, stems removed, washed and spun dry
- 1 cup julienned baked Kentucky country-cured ham
- 6 ounces Kentucky Port Salut cheese, cubed, or other semi-soft cheese such as mozzarella or jack
- Chopped chives, garnish
In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the pecans, and cook, stirring, until lightly toasted and fragrant, 3 minutes. Add the sugar and Essence, and cook, stirring, until the sugar is melted, 30 seconds. Add the apples and cook until the sugar is caramelized and the apples are tender, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a baking sheet lined with waxed paper or aluminum foil, and separate with a fork.
In a bowl, whisk together the vinegar, shallots, and bourbon. Add the oil, whisking, until smooth. Add the sour cream, salt, and pepper, and whisk until smooth. Adjust seasoning, to taste.
In a large bowl, place the whole lettuce leaves, watercress, ham, and cheese. Add a small amount of dressing and toss to lightly coat the greens. Divide among plates and top with the candied apples and pecans. Drizzle with more dressing and top with freshly ground black pepper to taste. Sprinkle with chives and serve.