How could I resist picking up such a beautiful bunch of fresh spinach to use in my salad? The obvious answer is that I couldn’t. I almost gave it a little hug before I put it in my basket at the market. Along with slender spears of Spring asparagus, French Breakfast Radishes, Cara Cara orange segments, scallions and toasted walnuts dressed with a light citrusy vinaigrette, my spinach salad is starting to look more like a meal than just a green salad. I like spinach salad with a light dressing, plenty of veggies and with the addition of fresh sliced oranges, it’s even better. I found the pinky orange flesh colored Cara Cara oranges at the Farmer’s Market this week. They are a special variety of juicy low acid (sweeter) seedless naval oranges that are grown in California and available from December through April. This time of year when the market is bursting with citrus fruits, it’s a good time to look for and pick up Cara Cara oranges. If you like oranges give them a try in your spinach salad, you might even want to give them a little hug.
- 1 large bunch fresh spinach, washed, dried and leaves separated
- 1 bunch fresh asparagus spears, washed, tough ends snapped off
- 4 Cara Cara oranges, peeled, thickly sliced and separated into bite size pieces
- 1/4 cup minced scallions, white and light green parts only
- 1 small bunch French breakfast radishes, washed, trimmed and cut into slices
- 2/3 cup walnut halves
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- For the Vinaigrette
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons walnut oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Place the spinach leaves in a large salad bowl and set aside.
- To Make the Vinaigrette
- In a small bowl whisk together the orange juice, vinegar, honey, oils, salt and pepper to taste, set aside.
- Blanch the asparagus spears in simmering water for 2-3 minutes, remove and plunge in a bowl of ice water, remove and drain when thoroughly chilled.
- Place the walnut halves in a hot non-stick skillet, gently stir to lightly brown.
- Sprinkle the sugar on to the hot walnuts with a generous pinch of sea salt and black pepper, stir to coat walnuts- continue stirring and cooking until dark brown and shiny spots form on edges on walnuts (turn on the exhaust fan-will be smoky) -remove from heat and cool.
- Add the asparagus spears, orange pieces, scallions, radishes and broken up walnut halves to the salad bowl with the spinach.
- Add the vinaigrette, gently toss to coat everything and serve.