Saturday, February 9, 2013

Mandarin Orange Salad ~ A Chinese New Year Favorite

The salad chef in the house is my partner Kevin, who always makes the dinner salad whether for us or when entertaining guests.  He has a large repertoire and today I'm sharing with you his recipe for Mandarin Orange Salad which is popular during Chinese New Year.

During Chinese New Year, Mandarin oranges and tangerines are considered traditional symbols of abundance and good fortune. During the two-week celebration, they are frequently displayed as decoration and presented as gifts to friends, relatives, and business associates.
The mandarin orange is a variety of the orange family. The mandarin has many names, some of which actually refer to crosses between the mandarin and another citrus fruit.  Satsuma, a seedless variety, of which there are over 200 cultivars, such as Owari and mikan; are the source of most canned mandarins, and popular as a fresh fruit due to its easy peeling.  Likewise, the Clementine, sometimes known as a "Christmas orange" as its peak season is December; and is perhaps the most important commercial Mandarin orange form.   Tangerines sometimes known as "Dancy Mandarin" are also popular as is the Tangor, also called the temple orange, a cross between the Mandarin orange and the common sweet orange; its thick rind is easy to peel and its bright orange pulp is sour-sweet and full-flavored.  I tell you all so you know you can substitute if need be, but preferably selecting one of the seedless varieties. 
Kevin making salads for guests.

 1/2 cup olive oil
 1/4 cup cider vinegar
 1/4 cup honey
 2 teaspoons dried parsley
 1 teaspoon salt
 1 pinch ground black pepper
 1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 head red leaf lettuce - rinsed, dried and torn
 1/2 red onion, chopped
 1/2 cup chopped celery
 2 (11 ounce) cans mandarin orange segments, drained
Fresh ground pepper

In a jar with a tight fitting lid, combine the oil, vinegar, honey, parsley, salt and pepper. Cover and shake well. Refrigerate until ready for use. 

In a large bowl, toss together the lettuce, celery, onion oranges and almonds.  Re-shake dressing and coat salad evenly.   Apply fresh ground pepper.  Plate and serve.

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