Sunny Citrus

Memorial Day in Seattle. Elsewhere in the country people are frolicking in the sun and the waves. Here … we have gray skies and a forecast of rain for days. Sigh. I should be used to it by now but I keep hoping that sunshine will become a more common phenomenon around these parts. I suppose for now I’ll have to keep on wishing.

On gray days like this I tend to want to lighten things up in the kitchen. And I immediately think of citrus. Obviously lemons and limes, oranges and grapefruit do not grow around these parts. We must rely on our neighbors to the south and east to supply these delights. But I am reminded of warmer climates when I cut into a juicy orange and during these cooler days I feel the purchase of produce from afar is worth it.

One of my favorite treats featuring these sweet yet tart fruits is a salad dressing comprised of three basic members of the citrus family – oranges, lemons and limes. A friend brought this salad to a dinner party last fall and I fell immediately in love. Bright pomegranate seeds and crunchy roasted hazlenuts strewn about add just the right complements to the tart dressing.

I haven’t changed it much – just made it a bit easier. It pairs extremely well with the butter lettuce – but would be equally delicious with any other kind of greens. I inevitably have dressing left over which I like to drizzle on grilled asparagus or other vegetables. And I am planning to incorporate this dressing into a cold brown rice or quinoa salad featuring nuts and dried fruit and whatever vegetables I have lying about. It is, as I have described, extremely versatile and I hope you’ll give it a try. Especially if you’re looking for a recipe to cheer you up on a gray day.

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Butter Lettuce Salad with Citrus Dressing

Adopted from a Bon Appétit December 2009 recipe

Serves 8-10

Ingredients

Citrus dressing:

  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • Juice and zest of one large orange
  • Juice and zest of one lemon
  • Juice and zest of one lime
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Salad:

  • 2 heads of butter lettuce, coarsely torn
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, quartered, cored, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup fresh pomegranate seeds (dried cranberries are a good substitute)
  • 2/3 cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped

Instructions

Citrus dressing:
Combine vinegar and citrus juice and zest in small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Salad: 
Mix all ingredients in very large bowl. Toss with enough dressing to coat.

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