Combine egg whites (at room temperature), vanilla, and salt in a large mixing bowl; beat until frothy. Gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form and sugar dissolves. (Do not under beat mixture.) Fold in pecans.
Spoon meringue mixture into 10 equal portions on baking sheets covered with unglazed brown paper. (Do not use recycled paper. ) Using the back of a spoon, shape meringue into circles 4 inches in diameter; shape each circle into a shell. (Sides should be about 1 1/2 inches high.) Bake at 300° for 1 hour. Remove from oven, and cool away from drafts. Carefully remove baked shells from brown paper. Use immediately or store in airtight containers.
Spoon ice cream in to meringue shells, and serve immediately on individual dessert dishes.