When Patrick and I decided on our Christmas menu, we thought a simple salad would be good. But when Patrick suggested adding something sweet to lettuce, I remembered a recipe I had snipped from Food and Wine for a citrus salad. The recipe that follows is a take on that salad. This salad was so delicious, although cutting the citrus is a little time consuming. However, if you don’t have a picky crowd, I would say just cutting up the fruit simply would still make a great salad.
Here’s what you will need:
2 cups arugula, washed and dried
1 teaspoon salt
3 citrus fruits (we did two cara cara oranges and one large mandarin)
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped parsley
zest from one lemon
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 creme fraiche (or full fat sour cream)
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (agave or honey would also work)
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
Here’s what you do:
1. Place the arugula in your salad bowl. Then, put the one teaspoon salt on your hands, rub it around a bit, and gently massage the arugula. Then rinse any extra salt off your hands.
2. For the orange slices: Cut up the citrus by removing the peel, the white pith, and any membranes in between. In other words, you will end up with those really pretty slices of fruit you see on fancy fruit trays. Now, cutting fruit like this takes a little time and isn’t super easy. So here are some suggestions – First, I once watched a YouTube video on how to section a grapefruit, and then used that lesson to cut these oranges. You could try the same thing. Second, you can just cut off the peel and and the outer white pith, and then slice the orange into nice pieces without removing the membrane. For the orange slices, I cut them in half before throwing into the salad. For the mandarin, I just removed the peel, sectioned with the membrane, and threw into the salad.
3. Next, add the parsley and shallot to the salad.
4. At this time, here are some suggestions for additional ingredients I think would be really yummy if you wanted to add them: some sliced fennel, some chopped olives, some slivered almonds, some candied walnuts or pecans, or some sliced radishes.
5. Now you are ready to make the dressing. Simply mix together the lemon zest, lemon juice, creme fraiche, maple syrup, poppy seeds and some salt. This will make about 4 tablespoons extra dressing.
6. Finally, dress the salad. I once read an article about making perfect salads that suggested two things I used in this recipe: one, massage your lettuce with salt before serving, and two, mix the dressing into the salad with your hands, a little at a time and adding more as you go. So here, if you are feeling brave (and because the oranges are delicate), pour some dressing in, mix with your hands, and taste to see if there is enough.