Winter Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

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From www.foodfanatic.com, by Lindsay Landis
Winter Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

Winter Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette Photo

After the gluttony of the holiday season, a big, leafy salad is perhaps the most wonderful thing in the world. And this one is no exception, with bright fruity flavors and a tangy citrus vinaigrette to top it all off.

Unlike a summer salad, which has a bounty of fresh fruit and vegetables to choose from, this winter salad makes the most of the fresh fruits in season during this time of year, which are surprisingly more plentiful than you might think.

Persimmons, with their smooth sweet flesh, are entirely underutilized in today’s cuisine, and they are one of my absolute favorite additions to any salad. When they are in season I’ll buy them weekly, savoring every succulent slice and using them in everything from green beans to scones, until they disappear for another year.

Winter Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette Picture

If you’ve never had a persimmon before, they are sweet and mild in flavor, somewhere in between a pumpkin and a mango, with a smooth, almost custardy texture when ripe. Look for Fuyu persimmons, the ones that look like orange tomatoes, which are better for eating raw, especially when they are slightly under-ripe and still have a bit of crunch. Peeling them is optional, although I find the skin a bit tough and so will usually take the extra step to do so.

Sprinkled with ruby-like pomegranate arils and studded with segments of juicy citrus (we used tangerine, but blood orange, cara cara orange, or even grapefruit would be just as delightful), this salad is a veritable winter fruit wonderland.

You could also add slices of fresh pear or apple in addition to or in place of the persimmon or citrus, both of which are abundant this time of year.

Winter Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette Image

To round out the salad we topped it with crumbled fresh goat cheese and candied pecans for added sweetness and crunch.

The dressing is a triple-threat of citrus, made with fresh orange juice, orange zest, and a lovely orange champagne vinegar (but you can use regular champagne vinegar as well) whisked with a bit of honey, extra virgin olive oil, and mustard to bring it all together. Might I suggest making a double batch and saving the rest in the fridge for later (it’ll keep in a jar or airtight container for up to a week). You’ll never want to buy bottled salad dressing again!

Winter Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette Pic

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Winter Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette Recipe

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Ingredients
For the Citrus Vinaigrette:

  • 2 tablespoons orange champagne vinegar, or champagne vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

For the Salad:

  • 6 ounces mixed greens
  • 1-2 persimmons, peeled (optional) and sliced
  • 1-2 tangerines, or other citrus of your choice, peeled and segmented
  • 1/2 cup fresh pomegranate arils, from 1/2 a pomegranate
  • 1/2 cup candied pecans
  • 2 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled

Directions

  1. To prepare vinaigrette, whisk together vinegar, orange juice, orange zest, honey, and mustard in a small bowl until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. Slowly drizzle in olive oil, whisking vigorously, until smooth and emulsified.
  3. Store in a lidded jar or airtight container in the fridge until ready to use.
  4. To assemble salad, divide greens among serving bowls.
  5. Top with slices of persimmon and citrus, a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds, a few candied pecans, and crumbled goat cheese.
  6. Drizzle with dressing, tossing gently to combine.

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