citrus season

I don’t look forward to tDSC03049he winter months; by February I usually feel like one more rain or snow storm sent my way will put me over the edge. But this winter has been wonderfully mild and I have made a point to bundle up the little boy and spend at least a few minutes outside most days of the week. This has made for a good winter overall, this and the citrus that have been piled up in my grocery store week after week for incredibly low prices. Because of this, my house has also been home to no less than three and more likely four or five varieties of citrus at a time. We are currently gorging ourselves on tangelos! I credit the citrus presence for the absence of colds around my home this winter.

Mostly we’ve been downing these neon colored wonders in the form of a citrus salad first inspired by SK’s mixed citrus salad, but which has gradually taken on its own look in my house. It’s more of a formula than a recipe and the winning factor is that the salad dressing makes itself; as you slice your citrus, the juice runoff takes the edge off finely chopped shallot/red/yellow onion and then mixes with an oil of your choice (mostly olive oil in my house, but this morning I used a garlic and onion infused oil left over from making crispy onions) along with salt and freshly ground black pepper to moisten your greens.

The Citrus Salad Formula (2-3 as a meal 4 as a side)

3 to 4 tablespoons onions of your choice, cut into tiny bits (I have used shallots, red onions, yellow onions, and imagine that scallions would also hold up fine here)
1 garlic clove peeled and grated on a micro zester
4 cups greens I prefer something with a spicy flavor here such as arugula, however lucianato kale is also great*.
1 tablespoon olive oil, or other oil of your choice.
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2-3 pieces of citrus, I use 1 grapefruit and 1 tangelo or 2 valencia oranges
1/4 cup toasted and chopped nuts or sesame seeds (my favorite is walnuts but almonds are also tasty here).
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 white wine or 2 tbl. wine vinegar and 2 tbl. water
3 to 4 tablespoons (1.5 ounces) salty/sour cheese, chopped or crumbled (I have used feta, chevré, and have left off the cheese and added yogurt to my dressing instead, if you try ricotta tell me how you felt about it).

Dressing extras: you can add up to 1 tablespoon wine vinegar or lemon juice to the citrus run off. Also, dijon mustard to your tastes is fantastic. 1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried mint, chopped or cut into tiny slivers adds a lovely cool note if that’s your thing. Half of a finely minced red or yellow bell pepper is also a welcome addition here if you have some on hand.

Combine raisins and white wine in a small saucepan and cover. Bring to a simmer and turn down heat slightly, let simmer until the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and let cool.

For the citrus dressin: combine your minced onion and grated garlic in a medium sized bowl. Cut the ends off your citrus fruits so that they sit flat against the cutting board and then trim off all the peel and pith. Slice your fruit into 1/4 inch thick rounds and scrape them and all of their juices into the bowl with your onions and garlic. Stir in the oil and any extras and set aside while you prepare your greens.

If using kale, remove tough inner stems then stack and roll the leaves so that you can slice them into thin shreds, think coleslaw style here. Arugula can be used as is, other leaf lettuces you will want to tear into bite sized pieces. Add greens and raisins to bowl and mixed to moisten. Top individual servings with cheese and toasted nuts. Enjoy, again and again, until you can’t handle any more citrus.

*kale holds up especially well and the whole salad will keep for up to a day premixed, just keep your nuts and cheese separate until ready to serve so they don’t get too soggy. The “citrus dressing” can be assembled several days in advance and tossed together with the greens at the desired time making it an easy lunch item.

Love from CO,
Bethany

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