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I was in the midst of preparing a very rich meal. I had two plump chickens roasting in the oven, a pot of rice simmering in garlic chicken broth on the stove, and a bowl of sliced leeks ready to add to the saucepan of chanterelles I was stirring on the front burner. I wanted a salad to round out this meal, and I wanted it to be assertive and bright. Something explosive, with strong, clean citrus juiciness to complement the chicken and mushrooms.

I grabbed one of each kind of citrus fruit I had in the house, and a large fistful of mint. I added lots of radishes for crunch, and some scallions for flavor, and I got to work.

Ingredients for Triple Citrus Side Salad

Time to slice and chop.


Greens for Triple Citrus Side Salad

A bed of greens, ready for the triple citrus zest.

Ingredients:
(Serves three or four as a side salad.)
4 cups of mache and mixed greens, including frisee and radicchio.
6 radishes, sliced.
3 scallions, sliced.
1/2 cup of grated golden beet.
1 navel orange, peel sliced off, quartered and sliced.
1 lime, peel sliced off, quartered and sliced.
1 large fistful of mint, chopped.
Zest of one orange.
Zest of one lemon.
Zest of one lime.

Citronette:
(Use only what you need. Refrigerate extra for a couple of days.)
1 T lemon juice.
3 T extra virgin olive oil.
1/2 tsp maple syrup.
1 small clove of garlic, crushed and minced.
1 pinch of salt, to taste.

Triple Citrus Side Salad, Orange and Lime

The orange peel is sliced off, and the lime is in step one of peel removal.


Triple Citrus Side Salad, Lime

The lime peel is now completely sliced off.


I started with a gorgeous bed of mache, radicchio, and frisee. Then I zested the citrus over the greens. Once the zest was safely in the salad, I juiced a lemon and prepared my citronette, giving the garlic time to mellow.

I sliced up my radishes and scallions, and turned to the lime and the orange.

I love slicing the peel off of citrus fruits and exposing the bright, jeweled fruit. I did this for the lime and the navel orange, and added them to the salad just before it was time to serve it, since mache wilts easily.

Triple Citrus Side Salad

Ready to serve!


The Verdict:
This salad was exactly what I wanted. My verdict? Amazing. It was quite sour, which I loved. My husband, on the other hand, was less impressed. He wound up leaving a little pile of pretty lime bits on his plate, and it was far too sour for the kids. Make this if you’re a fan of sour deliciousness. If not, move on.
Triple Citrus Side Salad, Plated

Time to eat!

Make it a Meal:
Garbanzo beans, chicken, or any kind of seafood would work very well with this salad.

Pack it to Go:
Citronette in a jar with all the cut fruit. The rest of the salad ingredients in a large glass or stainless steel container with a tupperware-style lid. Shake up the dressing and pour as much as you need over the salad before eating it.

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Dinnertime again, with just one hour for me to make food and for all of us to finish eating it. Luckily, my husband was home and he pitched in — he pan fried our wild snapper fillets and sliced the bread. I made the salad.

I knew I wanted something light and lemony, with lots of crunch. I was hoping the kids would enjoy it as well, since I didn’t have time to deal with broccoli or any of their other favorite veggies, and they’d already polished off a five pound bag of mandarins for lunch. I used romaine as a base, for the crunchy, clean flavor that my munchkins prefer. I added a navel orange for bright color and juiciness, avocado for creamy deliciousness, scallions for a mild onion tang, and radishes for more color and that perfect peppery crunch. I also mixed up a lemon shallot citronette, and grabbed a handful of mint for the salad. Mint is an excellent brightener, and it works incredibly well with any citronette. I wanted the salad to be really clean and simple, to complement the fish, and to appeal to the kids.

Simple Citrus Side Salad with Radish and Avocado

Rainbow of ingredients, ready for action.

Ingredients:
2 hearts of romaine, chopped.
3 scallions, chopped.
6 radishes, sliced.
1 avocado, quartered and sliced.
1 navel orange, peel sliced off, quartered and sliced, for maximum shiny jewel appeal.
1 fistful of mint, chopped.
Zest of one lemon.

Citronette:
(Use only what you need. Refrigerate leftovers for a couple of days.)
1 T lemon juice.
3 T extra virgin olive oil.
1 shallot, diced.
1/2 tsp maple syrup.
1 pinch of salt, to taste.

Simple Citrus Side Salad with Radish and Avocado

The finished salad, tossed and ready to serve.

I dealt with the lettuce first, making a nice base in the bowl. I zested the lemon over the lettuce, juiced the lemon, and made the citronette. My shallot was on the large side, and I thought about using half of it instead of all of it, but tossed it all in on a whim. I chopped and sliced the rest of the fruit and veggies, added them to the bowl, and then drizzled it all with citronette. While I tossed the salad, my husband started dishing up the fish and bread. My kids asked for salad, and two of the three came back for generous second servings.

Simple Citrus Side Salad with Radish and Avocado, Plated

On the plate, ready to eat!

The Verdict:
In case you missed it above, let me repeat: my kids asked for salad, and two of the three actually came back for seconds.

Yes. Total success. This salad rocked. It was incredible with the fish. Light, perfect flavors. Just the right combination of crunchy and barely sweet. Really delicious. My husband and I agreed that it was a real winner.

I do think in the future I’ll use less shallot, but the extra just coated the bowl and didn’t end up having any impact on the salad itself, so it isn’t really a big deal.

Make it a Meal:
It’s a very light, bright salad. I think if I were making it a meal on it’s own, I’d want something simple to add — grilled shrimp would be really good, or any other simple seafood. I think it would also work with grilled chicken. For a vegetarian version, I’m always a fan of garbanzo beans and lemon, although if I added chick peas I would cut out the avocado, or add another crunchy element, and I would swap garlic for shallots in the citronette… So that turns it into a completely different salad pretty quickly. I think shelled edamame would work well without any other changes, or some tasty toasted nuts.

Pack it to Go:
Easy enough — the orange goes in the jar with the dressing so that it’s juices don’t wilt the romaine. If you add protein to make it a stand alone meal, put the beans, chicken, fish or shrimp, (chilled, not hot, since heat also wilts lettuce) in the salad container. As always, leave space for fork tossing and combine it all when you’re ready to eat. Use your fork to pull the fruit out of the dressing so you aren’t forced to use all the citronette — remember, you might not want it all. Always add your dressing a little at a time, to taste.

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