I confess. This salad has been in a drafts folder since January, when the citrus was just coming into its peak. I made it, photographed it, ate it… and my attention was promptly diverted… Super Bowl? Valentine’s Day? Probably. But that doesn’t mean this simple citrus almond salad doesn’t deserve a little love.
Actually, now is probably the perfect time to share it with you! I mean, the citrus is still really good and bathing suit season is just a little over a month away… Just sayin’. It might do us good to mix in a salad, right? And look — you can learn a new skill — segmenting an orange! It’s not hard, just takes a little practice.
The key is a sharp paring knife. Just cut the peel and pith from the orange by following the natural curve of the fruit. Then slide your knife between each of the segments and lift out the perfect wedge.
Quick side story: We had company visiting from the North and I segmented a bag of oranges to serve them for breakfast during their stay. One of our guests looked at the fruit and said, “Wow – you’re oranges are different than the ones we get – they’re so much easier to eat.” She had never seen an orange without the membrane on it. LOL! She loved it so much that she bought several bags to take back North with her and before she left, she made me give a tutorial on how to segment the fruit.
Aside from the tangy, sweet oranges, this simple citrus and almond salad also has crunchy slices of cucumber, a bit of red onion for heat, crunchy toasted almonds, crumbled queso fresco (you can substitute feta, too), fresh basil and a homemade orange vinaigrette. It would be excellent with some sliced avocado and/or grilled shrimp for a more substantial meal. Simple, but oh, so tasty!
- 1 orange, zested
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1 tablespoon white wine or red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 oranges (use the one you zested for the dressing)
- 1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 3/4 cup queso fresco, crumbled
- 1 head of Boston bibb lettuce, leaves roughly torn
- 1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
- 3-4 basil leaves, cut in chiffonade (very thin strips)
- In a small bowl combine the orange zest, garlic, dijon, olive oil, orange juice, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper. Whisk until emulsified and set aside. (This makes more dressing than you'll need for this salad. Save any extra for other salads.)
- Segment the orange. Using a sharp knife cut away the peel and pith of the orange exposing the juicy segments. Cut in between the membrane of each of the orange segments and transfer the segments to a small bowl. Set aside.
- Add the lettuce to a large salad bowl. Top with onion, queso fresco and orange segments. Add 4-5 tablespoons of dressing and toss the salad. If it needs more dressing, add more a little at a time. Sprinkle the salad with the toasted almonds and fresh basil. Serve.