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2 cups sugar, divided
1/2 cup water
1 (12-oz.) bag fresh cranberries
4 Tbs. unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup medium pecan pieces
1/4 cup thinly sliced shallots
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sherry vinegar
1 lb. bitter greens, such as mixed frisée, radicchio, and dandelion greens, washed and drained on paper towels
For the candied cranberries: Combine 1/2 cup of the sugar and 1/2 cup of water in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved, about two to three minutes. Stir in the cranberries until well coated. Transfer them to a wire rack using a slotted spoon. Let dry for at least one hour, or until all excess syrup has dripped from the cranberries. They should be lightly glazed in the sugar syrup.
Working in batches, roll the cranberries in remaining one-and-a-half cups of sugar until well coated and place them on a wire rack. Let them dry for at least one hour, or until they are no longer tacky to the touch.
For the pecan vinaigrette: Heat the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until it turns nutty and brown, about five minutes. Immediately remove from the heat and set aside.
Combine the pecan pieces, shallots, bay leaf, and oil in a medium saucepan over low heat. Slowly toast the pecans in the oil until very fragrant, about 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and discard. Whisk the brown butter and sherry vinegar into the pecans and oil. Season to taste with salt and keep warm.
To compose the salad: Place the greens in a large mixing bowl and allow to come to room temperature (this prevents your vinaigrette from congealing when you dress the salad). Season with salt and pepper. Spoon a generous amount of the warm pecan vinaigrette over the greens and toss the salad until the greens are thoroughly coated in the vinaigrette. Scatter the candied cranberries over the dressed greens and serve immediately.
The candied cranberries can be made one day in advance and stored in an airtight container at room temperature. The warm pecan vinaigrette can be made two hours in advance and rewarmed over low heat.