It was dinner time, my family was seated at the table, and I was tossing salad. A typical weeknight…or so I thought. The salad did look quite appealing, I must say. But leafy generally does not fly in my house. It sits in the bowl until I eat it myself.
Not to complain…the family dinner is my favorite time of day. Once the meal is on the table, I finally get to exhale.
Cooking for others is an act of letting go. Chances are, all of your hard work will be enjoyed some of the time, but rarely all of the time. Appetites are just too personal — no two people ever eat exactly alike. So rather than feeling dejected by uneaten efforts, it’s best not to become too attached to anything you cook.
The other night, however, I managed somehow to serve a dish that tempted everyone at the table, including my skeptical teenager, my adventuresome yet self-conscious ‘tween, my sporadically curious tot, and my loving but indifferent husband. I was stunned.
Here is the recipe, an evergreen salad that marries creamy, crunchy, bitter, and sweet, with a crimson-colored vinaigrette that just might please your crowd, too. If you can’t find blood oranges, tangerines or clementines would be just as tasty.
It will definitely be on the menu for my upcoming Easter/Passover class. And I have a feeling that, in my house, salad days have just begun.
Blood Orange Vinaigrette (makes about 2/3 cup)
1-1/2 tablespoons honey or agave syrup
3 tablespoons fresh blood orange juice (from 2 juicy blood oranges; orange or tangerine are good substitutes)
1 small shallot or 2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon organic soy or Tamari sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/3 cup avocado oil or olive oil, or a combination
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large head escarole or butter lettuce, leaves washed and torn
1 (14-ounce) can hearts of palm, drained and sliced (about 2 cups)
1 large ripe avocado, pitted and diced
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts, walnuts, or pecans (roughly chop the bigger nuts)
1/4 cup crumbled local blue cheese or other sharp creamy cheese (optional)
1. Prepare the Blood Orange Vinaigrette: In a medium bowl, whisk together the honey, blood orange juice, shallot or garlic, soy sauce, and mustard. Whisk the oil in a slow stream so that the dressing emulsifies. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (The dressing can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.).
2. In a large salad bowl, combine the lettuce, hearts of palm, and avocado. Toss gently with the vinaigrette. Sprinkle with nuts and cheese and serve.
If you’re in the mood for salad, you’ll want to try all of these:
- Frisee Salad with Green and Yellow Beans, Poached Eggs and Sherry Vinaigrette
- Winter Chopped Salad with Champagne-Honey Vinaigrette
- Healthy Iceberg Wedge Salad with Light Ranch Dressing and Blue Cheese
- Quinoa Salad with Feta, Corn, Olives and Mediterranean Vinaigrette
- Arugula Salad with Creamy Parmesan-Hemp Dressing
Photo credit: KalynsKitchen.com