Heat a pan (I used a cask iron pan) over medium heat. Add 1/2 cup of raw pecans to the pan. Toast for about 6 minutes, flipping the pecans every once in awhile. If desired, once the pecans are looking toasty, add 1 teaspoon of maple syrup to the pecans and toss evenly. As soon as the pecans are coated with the maple syrup, have a piece of parchment paper waiting off to the side and let the pecans cool on this. Try to separate the pecans so they don't stick and clump together. Once cooled (~10 minutes), add to the salad.