One weekend, one salad, four parties
This last weekend was approximately 400% more social than most. And like most get-togethers, food took center stage, with sports both played and watched a very close second. The seasonal availability of mandarins and the extra hazelnuts I bought for biscotti, made the Zuni Café Cookbook recipe for Mixed Greens with Mandarins, Hazelnuts & Hazelnut Vinaigrette (pg 141) a clear choice … twice. For another get-together we all enjoyed shopping for, preparing and savoring BiBimBop … wow. It definitely wasn’t simple, but the high enjoyment factor (and leftovers) more than compensated.
I recently counted all the recipes in the Zuni cookbook and found a total of 281 recipes … many of which would push me WAY out of my cooking comfort zone. Squab. Mock Porchetta. Rabbit Sausage. Well, one day at a time. After recently enjoying Risotto with Wild Rice, Squash, & Wild Mushrooms (pg 197), I figure I have 273 more recipes yet to try-adventure-experiment-rollercoaster through in 2014. This winter salad is definitely a keeper and easy to make ahead and bring to a party.
We observed that I am on a citrus pinwheel kick.
Mixed Greens with Mandarins & Hazelnuts
For one of these salads I didn’t find Frangelico liqueur or hazelnut oil within my grocery shopping time limit… but with a broader search we secured the liqueur and included in the second dressing. With or without is delicious. I especially like J. Rodgers’ suggestion of dipping a lettuce leaf into the dressing to taste, and adjust seasons before finalizing (both times I added more olive oil). I also like to combine the greens and dressing with my hands, the best and gentlest tools for the job.
Time: 10-20 minutes
Servings: 4 adults + 4 kids as a side dish
1/2 c Hazelnuts (skins removed and coarsely chopped)
6-10 mandarins peeled and cut into pinwheels (video above)
½ extra virgin olive oil
2 T Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
2 tsp Frangelico liqueur or hazelnut oil (optional)
~10 c salad greens cleaned and dried
As you slice mandarins transfer them to a bowl and save juice. In small mason jar combine oil, vinegar, liqueur or hazelnut oil if using, a trickle of juice from mandarins, and salt to taste. Securely put lid on jar and shake vigorously. Taste dressing and adjust seasonings. Drizzle 1-2 T of dressing over sliced mandarins.
Just before serving the salad, drizzle and toss the lettuce with the dressing, coating lightly (you could have ~1/3c dressing left for another night). Taste a lettuce leaf and add more dressing if needed. Place mandarins on greens, sprinkle with nuts and enjoy.