It’s all about the dressing…A salad. In February. Am I mad?
An explanation: Being this tantalisingly close in the year to warmth, spring colour and fresh tastes I am really craving bright food. Okay, I’m always craving food – bright food – but lately it borders on stark-eyed obsession.
The seemingly endless months of low, blue-tinged light is starting to drive me a bit potty, a tad single-minded: must.have.colour. And I as I don’t quite have the funds or time for a trip to the Seychelles or South Africa, I am turning to bright and deeply-hued winter fruits to keep me on the verge of sanity.
I’m not a huge one for just nibbling fruit on its own (what a confession from a health educator!), so I often combine fruit with vegetables, mainly salad ones. I joke in my nutrition classes for cancer patients that the reason I fling any likely fruit into their salads is I ensure I get my fruit for the day. Selfish, or what?
And so it has been even more so recently – persimmons, pomegranates, cold-stored pears and apples, kumquats, pomelos, lychees, clementines – even cranberries blitzed into a creamy-style dressing.
This salad is a bit more special though. No flinging for a start. One reason it is special is the dressing.
Dressings can certainly make or break a salad, although this salad can, I think, come proudly to the table with only a light veil of best olive oil and a squeeze from the peels of the blood oranges.
This dressing is simple but a smidge different to my norm as it contains a tiny bit of dairy in the form of creme fraiche. Or you could use buttermilk. Vegans, use cashew or almond creme with a tad of lemon added, but everyone else do try the creme fraiche. The lactic tang with the sherry vinegar, oil, honey and seasoning is absolutely delightful. Lickable even. I toss the dressing through the salad and basically dive in with my (squeaky clean) hands to mix it all around. I then proceed to get very slovenly, and perhaps a touch Nigella, by licking the jug clean. I can’t be the only one who does that. I am quite happy to pass you a sweet batter-loaded whisk, but paws off my jug.
How are you coping with end of February warm weather food cravings? If you live in the Southern Hemisphere, please do not write in to gloat!
Blood Orange, Avocado and Chicory Winter Chopped Salad
-This is adapted from a recipe in the January-February (paper copy only) Nutrition Action newsletter, a publication of the Centers for Science in the Public Interest.-
Satisfy winter cravings for colour and the illusion of warmth with this bright and bold salad with its creme fraiche, honey and sherry vinegar dressing. To make it more of a meal add in toasted nuts and seeds, chicken or cubes of cheese. Enjoy. xx
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp creme fraiche or vegan cream or silken tofu with added lemon juice
1 tbsp sherry vinegar or best red wine vinegar (e.g Cabernet Sauvignon)
3 tbsp best extra virgin olive oil
1/2 – 1 tsp best honey or maple syrup (your call)
1 tsp water
salt and pepper, to taste
The Chopped Salad
1 head Romaine lettuce, chopped
2 heads of red chicory or radicchio, cored and chopped
2 -3 blood oranges, peeled and chopped
1 avocado, peeled and chopped
Arils from 1 pomegranate
Poppy seeds, to garnish and flavour
1. Put the dressing ingredients into a jug or lidded jar and mix well. Lick the lid if you like.
2. Put all of the chopped salad ingredients in a pretty serving bowl, pour over the dressing and mix well with your hands. Sprinkle over the poppy seeds and serve immediately. Garnish with any proteins as suggested above.
Oh, I have two announcements.
- First of all, my friend Katie over at Whole Nourishment is running a Stress Relieving and Home Spa Retreat in – get this – Barcelona! It’s a 4-day retreat/hands-on workshop that promises to be very nurturing and obviously will include the freebie of great weather. If you are interested, see the retreat overview details. Katie is a wonderful person and teacher so this may be a wise investment in your health and well-being.
- Secondly, I have posted an exclusive Thai stir-fry recipe over on Huffington Post. It is a near 15-year family favourite with universally-loved flavours of lime, basil, chilli and a touch of sweet – it’s quite easy too. Go over and have a look. Do feel free to drop me a comment, share or like it. It will make me look popular to the big cheeses at Huffington Post!
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