Malabar Spinach Salad with Orange-Poppy seed Dressing
In a food processor bowl or blender container combine sugar, orange peel, orange juice, vinegar, the finely chopped onion, and pepper. Cover and process or blend until combined. With the processor or blender running, slowly add oil in a steady stream through hole or opening in top. Process or blend until mixture is thickened. Stir in poppy seed. Use immediately or cover and chill in the refrigerator until needed. Shake before using.
Remove the seeds and peel from the cantaloupe. Thinly slice the cantaloupe lengthwise; using miniature cutters, cut the melon into stars. (Or, use a melon baller to scoop the melon half into balls.) In a large serving bowl toss together cantaloupe, spinach, ham, and red onion. Add pecans; pour half of the dressing over all. Toss to coat. (Cover and chill remaining dressing up to 3 days.) Makes 4 main-dish or 8 side-dish servings.
Make-Ahead Tip: Prepare dressing; cover and chill up to 3 days. Prepare cantaloupe-spinach mixture as above. Cover and refrigerate for up to 8 hours. Before serving, add pecans; pour dressing over all. Toss to coat.