Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Spinach Salad with Citrus and Avocado

Salads are a genre of food with infinite possibilities. Any type of leafy green, or no leafy green at all. Crispy veggies, soft veggies, a combination thereof. Fruit, nuts, cheese, even meat. A homemade dressing to tie it all together. This salad started with a recipe in a book and was brutalized with substitutions on my part. That's the beauty of salads in general.

My husband came back from Chicago with a nasty cold, and I can sense it around the corner for me, so a salad that includes citrus (along with vitamin-filled veggies, of course) seemed like the way to go tonight.

Citrus season is technically over, but here in California we're lucky to have pretty great citrus even into the spring. Navel orange is the star here, along with avocado - I guess this is a very Californian salad, come to think of it! The avocado came from my coworker's garden, and it was one of the richest, creamiest, most beautiful avocados I've ever tasted. It finished off this salad beautifully.

Spinach Salad with Citrus and Avocado
adapted from The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook
serves 2


1 medium navel orange
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon EVOO
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups (tightly packed) baby spinach
3 red radishes, trimmed and very thinly sliced
1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted
1/2 medium avocado, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chevre (or other flavorful cheese), crumbled


1. Start by segmenting the orange. Cut a slice off the top and bottom, exposing the flesh. Stand the orange upright and, using a sharp knife, thickly cut off the peel, following the contour of the fruit and removing all the pith and membrane. Over a small bowl, carefully cut along both sides of each section to free it from the membrane. Discard seeds and let sections and any juice fall into the bowl. Squeeze the membranes over the bowl to extract remaining juice.

2. To make the vinaigrette, in a glass jar or other salad dressing shaker, combine 1 tablespoon of the captured orange juice, the vinegar, mustard, EVOO, and salt and pepper. Shake vigorously to combine. (You can also whisk the EVOO into the other ingredients in a bowl).

3. In a large bowl, combine the spinach, radishes, orange sections, and pine nuts. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to coat. Serve in individual salad plates and top with avocado slices and chevre.

This salad is definitely hearty enough to stand alone as a meal, but some warm crusty bread never hurt anyone. Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. Looks great - make sure you don't catch John's cold please