Thursday, January 28, 2010

Spinach Salad with Oranges and Avocado

This is the time of year when oranges are ripe and ready to be picked. Some orange varieties increase in sweetness the longer they stay on the tree. However, the squirrels know all about ripe oranges, too. So, I've got to pick my oranges or let the squirrels take the bounty. Here's a salad that uses sweet oranges, together with sweet spinach and silky avocado. It's a mixture of tastes and textures that's sure to delight.


4 cups baby spinach leaves
2 mandarin oranges or 1 navel orange
1 avocado
2 Tbs pistachio nuts or pumpkin seeds

Citrus Dressing:

1 lemon, meyer or regular
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 Tbs sherry vinegar or champagne vinegar
1 Tbs water
3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 grind of salt
1/8 tsp pepper Directions:

To make the salad, wash the spinach leaves and arrange on plates or in a serving bowl. Peel the oranges and break into sections, cutting each section in half. Cut the avocado in half and remove the seed. Score the avocado flesh, then peel back the skin, allowing the avocado pieces to fall out. Tuck the orange and avocado pieces into the salad. Sprinkle with nuts.

To make the dressing, roll the lemon on the counter to release the juices. Using a peeler or zester, peel just the yellow part of the lemon, then mince finely to make 1 tsp. Squeeze the juice from the lemon - there should be about 2 tablespoons. Pour the lemon juice into a jar, and add the remaining ingredients. Shake to combine, then pour dressing over the salad and serve.

Serves 4.

Stealthy Cooking Tip: It's easy to make your own salad dressings. Make a little more than you need, then keep the extra in the refrigerator. You'll have enough for your next salad. Homemade salad dressings don't keep as long as commercial ones because they don't have all the additives. Your dressing should keep for up to one week.

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