(A lot of quiet and a lot of snow in our neighborhood here today on Epiphany)
I make variations of this refreshing salad just about every day lately, sometimes even twice, for lunch (with a piece of warm ciabatta to drench up the remaining vinaigrette) and then later with dinner. It goes perfectly with Citrus Chicken -- recipe coming! -- or with roasted chicken added in it. It's also delicious alongside Parmesan Crusted Salmon for a really fresh and easy dinner. The clementines and winter plums that have been everywhere at the farmers' market lately add a nice sweetness to this salad to round out the salty feta and crunchy raw walnuts.
Winter Citrus Salad with Feta, Walnuts, Apple and Pear
4 C fresh spinach, rinsed & patted dry
1 pear, roughly diced
1 clementine, peeled and separated
1 winter plum, roughly diced
4-6 oz feta (in brine is best)
1/2 C fresh raw walnuts
1 apple, roughly diced
1/2 avocado, sliced
For the Vinaigrette:
1 C balsamic vinegar
1 C extra virgin olive oil
1-2 tbs raw honey
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
I like to use a lidded mason jar to make dressings. Pour in the balsamic vinegar, honey, salt and garlic. Whisk together or shake with the lid on to combine. Pour in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream while whisking continuously. Drizzle the desired amount on the salad. (If you are in a rush, you can just shake all of the ingredients together in the jar). Store lidded in the pantry. It tastes best fresh, up to one week.
You can either toss the spinach first with the vinaigrette and group the rest of the ingredients on top for a pretty presentation, or just toss it all at once. Feel free to add or substitute winter fruits that you can either find where you live or ones that you prefer! When choosing a feta, the ones that come in full pieces in brine are best. If you buy prepackaged feta crumbles, they will likely be dry and less flavorful. I like using a creamy cheese in big green salads, like feta, goat or blue cheese so that when you toss it the cheese sticks to the lettuce, fruits and nuts binding all the flavors together in each bite.
Ps. Thank you sweet Lorraine for my new salad tongs!