A Terrific Winter Salad

I love when I throw something together and it ends up an example of the whole being more than the sum of its parts. Last week that was a citrus salad. I love citrus in salads during the winter – not just oranges, but clementines, tangerines, blood oranges, mineolas, grapefruits. Perhaps it’s because they are so fresh and make me daydream of warmer climates, tropical breezes, anything but winter.

The many tastes and textures of this salad blend perfectly. Celery adds to the crunch of the romaine, red onions provide a slightly sharp bite, toasted walnuts warmth, and the tartness of the oranges is complemented by the creamy feta, along with the marinated mixed olives, offer a subtle saltiness. I took this to my book club, and everyone raved about it. Leftovers were pretty good for lunch the next day, mixed with white cannellini beans. I had a small fennel bulb in the 'frig that I *meant* to mandoline, so that'll be an addition next time I make it.

For the dressing, I lovelovelove Round Pond Estates’ blood orange olive oil – rich, spicy, and oh-so-fragrant, but any good olive oil will work fine. And there’s a trick to sectioning citrus, which means removing its skin, membranes, and pith. It’s not hard and results in a superior taste (and visual presentation). Since I failed to photo how to do that, it is clearly illustrated here.
Winter Salad
Serves 8

3 large navel oranges

2 T shallots, finely minced
4 T orange marmalade – I used Smuckers Sugarfree
4 T sherry vinegar
2 T blood orange olive oil
1 t Dijon mustard
salt – about 1/2 teaspoon
freshly ground black pepper
3 large heads of romaine, roughly torn
3 large stalks celery, diced
Small red onion, finely sliced
1/3 C chopped toasted walnuts
(About)1/2 C feta – I used 2/3’s of a container Trader Joe’s fat free feta
(About)1/3 C marinated mixed pitted olives – I used a small container from our grocer’s olive bar

With a sharp pairing knife, remove both ends of the orange. On your cutting board, sit the orange on one of the flat ends and cut down the side of the orange to remove a section of the skin and all the white pith. Continue around the entire orange. Make a slice on each side of membrane to loosen an orange section and remove the section to a bowl. Repeat this around the orange. Go to the website above to see photos of how to do this!

Combine the shallots, orange marmalade, sherry vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard, salt and black pepper in a blender or mini food processor until well-blended. This can be made ahead of time

Toss lettuces, celery, red onion, and walnuts in a large bowl. Add olives, feta, and orange sections. Drizzle with dressing, any accumulated juice from the oranges, and combine.

I didn’t use all the dressing but passed leftovers at the table for those who like a more-dressed salad.

Serve immediately.

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