Friday, January 18, 2013

A Winter Salad with Lemon-Orange Vinaigrette {Arugula, Farro, Radish, Citrus & More}

While some folks may take salads out of their winter repertoire of meals, uncertain as to what to toss with their greens lest there be a sun-ripened tomato to turn to... I welcome the variety of produce that winter hardily delivers, and the opportunity for new pairings and introductions. Tomatoes certainly aren't necessary for a great salad, and leafy greens don't have to take the lead.

Most of our salads this time of year are simply a toss together of whatever is looking best... broccoli, beets, turnips, cauliflower, kale, mushrooms, squash, etc. Really no different than the salads you'd pull together in the peak of summer. It's just a slightly different cast of characters.

With a thoughtful selection of beautiful produce, complementary pairings (fresh and/or dried fruits, nuts, grains, legumes, etc.), and a tasty dressing or simple squeeze of fresh lemon... the possibilities are numerous.

I think salads are the "raw" version of my penchant for soups. There's really no "golden rule" to follow in making either. And they both allow a good deal of creativity. A quick chop of this or that and, voilá, you have dinner. They're both quick and easy go-tos that only get better the more variety you introduce. Kind of like a great party.

The first time I threw this salad together I had just a touch of arugula and a whole heap of cauliflower... so that's what was used. This time around I had an abundance of arugula and absolutely no cauliflower. A bit more radish, celery, chopped roasted almonds, fresh green onion, and bits of citrus took its place, marrying beautifully with the peppery greens and nutty grain. Though chopped cauliflower is a welcome addition, it was yummy nonetheless.

Lately, as a result of a project I'm working on for Stemilt Fruit Growers and Sunkist, I've been tossing a good bit of fruit (apples, pears and citrus) into our everyday meals... especially salads! While the bulk of the project I'm working on is kid-focused, recipes using Lil Snapper fruits, I'm happy to take the day's leftovers and rework them into whatever we have going for dinner... like this salad.

The day's creations are pretty good too... particularly for little tykes... and moms looking to get fresh fruit into kids' hands... and bellies. It's exciting to see what Stemilt and Sunkist are doing to promote healthy eating among kids. As a mom that raised her own daughters on a bounty of fruits and vegetables... rarely even opening a jar of baby food... I can't think of a better project to get behind. There's truly nothing better than the sweet nectar of nature.

While I am being compensated for my work with Stemilt Fruit Growers and Sunkist, the opinions expressed herein are solely my own.

A Winter Salad with Lemon-Orange Vinaigrette {Arugula, Farro, Radish, Citrus & More}
makes enough for two dinner salads or four starter salads

Sweet supremes of Sunkist® Minneola tangelo were cut into thirds and tossed into this particular salad; with the rendered juice added to fresh lemon juice, champagne vinegar, and honey for a fresh, bright and subtly sweet dressing. The citrus mixes beautifully with fresh leaves of nutty arugula and an al dente addition of farro, combined with a welcomed pop and crunch of bright red radish, crisp celery, bits of roasted almond, and mild green onion.

2.5 ounces fresh, baby arugula (approximately half a 5-ounce container)
1 1/4 cup cooked farro*
1/2 cup thinly sliced radish (halved first, if preferred)
1 cup thinly sliced celery (2 to 3 stalks)
3 tablespoons sliced green onion
1/2 to 3/4 cup Minneola tangelo supremes, cut into thirds, juice reserved (I used Sunkist® Minneola tangelos)
1/2 cup roughly chopped roasted almonds

for vinaigrette:

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons tangelo juice, reserved from supreming fruit
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
slight dash kosher salt
1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, as preferred

In a small bowl, whisk lemon juice, reserved tangelo juice, champagne vinegar, and honey, until honey is dissolved. Add very slight dash of salt, to taste, and whisk in olive oil. Set aside.

In a large bowl, gently toss arugula, farro, radish, celery and green onion with vinaigrette; until well dressed. Add citrus and almonds and gently toss, to just mix through. Serve immediately.

* Follow package directions, or if you are interested in a slightly al dente texture, reduce cooking time accordingly.

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