Here’s a simple, yet elegant salad that will nicely accompany Thanksgiving Dinner or a regular meal at home. It’s a winter twist on a strawberry salad I wrote a few years past. The poppy seed dressing is extremely flexible on a variety of fruit and green salads.
Let’s tip toe through the ingredients. Tender greens, easy to acquire at most stores. If I went with another green I might use bib or romaine hearts. When you choose the greens purchase ‘organic’. They will last much longer and they tend to contain less moisture.
Pecans, for salads I always dry roast mine in the oven. Use a 300 degree oven and roast them for about 20-30 minutes. At 350 degrees folks often overlook the nuts and the next thing you know, burnt nutmeats. Lots of money down the drain. I think English Walnuts would also be complimentary.
Feta cheese, my opinion is it’s a very nice match, however Asiago or goat cheese would also be nice. Lots of folks reach for parmesan out of habit, but I frequently don’t, due to the sodium content.
Red onions, any time you are implementing in a salad consider this approach. About 30 minutes before, soak the onions in ice cold water. Drain, and pat dry before layering on a salad. The ice water draws some of the heat and ‘pow’, from the onion.
Why a clementine? An orange slice would be nice, but not as elegant in presentation as the smaller clementine. They can be peeled and bagged before the meal and quickly laid on the salad. Canned mandarins are ok, but not as durable, plus they fall apart so easily. Peel extras so the family can snack on them, or put them in the lunchbox!
Dried Cranberries, always a flexible dried fruit. Use a dried cherry or blueberry. This is one time where I’m not fond of substituting with raisins.
Main entrée, oh yeah, put leftover turkey or chicken over this salad and turn it into a main dish. The dressing will last up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. Purchase little 2-3 oz. cups with lids, at the grocery store, for carrying the salad to work.
I think we’re headed in a real good direction. I’m actually considering this salad for our 2019 Thanksgiving dinner. I recently paired this recipe with an opener consisting of cream of asparagus soup. The rest of the meal was brisket, potatoes au gratin, squash and hot rolls. For dessert, an elegant pecan pie.
Keep preparing for winter. Our son, Phillip was home from college this weekend and I re-stocked him with new ideas for quick evening meals. Dining at home is so calming, quiet and economical!
Enjoy the week my friends. Simply yours, The Covered Dish. www.thecovereddish.com
Winter Orange Salad
Tender greens salad mix
Clementine sections or mandarin oranges
Toasted Pecans or Walnuts
Red onion rings, 1-2 per salad
Prepare individual salad plates. Amounts will vary depending upon the number of guests you are entertaining.
Poppy Seed Dressing
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2-3 teaspoons finely minced onion
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon honey mustard
1/2 cup light olive oil
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 tablespoon mayonnaise of choice or substitute with sour cream, same amount.
Whisk all the dressing ingredient together with a wire whisk, until well blended.
Should yield approximately 3/4 cup. The dressing will hold up to two weeks in the refrigerator.
Assemble main salad ingredients into individual portions, making a nice presentation. Garnish with the dressing or allow guests to do so individually. Yields 6 side salads. The salad can be made in one bowl, however the display isn’t
quite as striking.