Thursday, February 3, 2011

Spinach and Arugula Salad with Orange Vinaigrette


Citrus Season is in full swing here in my San Diego back yard!  I absolutely know how lucky I am to have not only a generously producing orange tree, but a lemon and lime as well.  Planted as little slips and literally arriving in quart sized cartons they have grown into wonderful producers who willingly provide us with orange, yellow and green fruits for months on end.

This year's and next year's Margaritas!
Growing up in Northern California we also had an orange tree.  I remember how my grandparents, from Minnesota, would pose by the tree on each and every visit.  Somehow though, I took those orange globes for granted.  They were always there and easy to get.  But then I moved away from home and was slapped into reality when I tasted my first store bought orange.  Blech!!  It must have been weeks old, was mushy and mealy and had absolutely no flavor.  My loving dad came to my rescue with a bag of home grown oranges and we haven't looked back!

Dad is still providing us and a good portion of my neighbors with bags of the precious citrus and has been proclaimed to have one of the best trees around!  Serving sliced oranges to the kids, I'm frequently asked, "Are these our oranges or Papa's?"  receiving a smile when I confirm that they are Papa's.  Not that our oranges are bad... his are just better.  He says it is because he talks to them... and I'm sorely tempted to take up a conversation with our tree next time I need advice.

With a bag of no less than 50 sweet, juicy oranges on our table we definitely needed a use.  My buddy Giada once again came to the rescue with her Spinach Salad and Orange Vinaigrette.  Altering it to what we had on hand, we added my current green obsession, arugula, and I couldn't help myself from topping it with a generous handful of blue cheese.  Filled with greens, pancetta, onions and oranges and dressed with a lovely orange/balsamic vinaigrette I had 6 smiling faces.  I guess I'd better go tell the tree!


Spinach and Arugula Salad with Orange Vinaigrette
adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

1/4 cup bacon or pancetta, cooked and crumbled
1/2 tsp orange zest (optional)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs honey (optional - I didn't use this, our oranges were sweet enough!)
1 clove garlic, pressed
2 - 4  Tbs olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
spinach 
arugula
orange slices
sliced sweet onion
crumbled blue cheese

In a small bowl or blender combine the orange zest, juice, balsamic, honey, garlic, and salt and pepper.  Whisk or blend until smooth and combined.  Add the olive oil and continue whisking or blending until combined.  Transfer to a container and store in the fridge until ready to use.  Makes about 1/2 cup, may double or triple if you would like!

In a salad bowl combine desired amount of spinach and arugula.  Add orange slices and onions.  Toss with enough of the vinaigrette to coat the salad and sprinkle with bacon/pancetta and blue cheese.  

33 comments:

  1. Orange vinaigrette sounds delicious. I love the citrus flavor. We had orange/lemon/lime and plum trees in my back yard but we removed them all because they were planted too close to the fence. It was a very sad day.

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  2. Oh how I wish I had an orange, lemon and lime tree! Your salad is so gorgeous and colorful. And the dressing sounds amazing! :)

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  3. Yum Yum! That salad is really beautiful. Buzzed, Dearie;-)

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  4. This looks so fresh with the oranges, I love arugula;-)

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  5. Aren't you lucky! I'm swimming in carrots and other root vegetables because that's what is available here and it's really not as much fun as oranges. Great use of arugula, it's my favourite green. I started growing it in the spring a couple of years ago and the baby leaves are so strong you can use them as an herb (yummy in eggs!).

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  6. My husband loves a spinach salad with bacon...and I love the refreshing orange vinaigrette! YUM!

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  7. Your oranges and limes are beautiful, and I'm very envious:) Here in IL, we have to buy citrus from the grocery store. Your limes are unbelievable, and I imagine they taste that way, too. You and Giada did very well with the salad.

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  8. I've got some blood oranges that didn't quite make it into a cocktail... I think I've just been inspired to turn them into a vinaigrette! This salad looks beautiful and I'm so jealous of your fruitful trees!

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  9. Sadly hurricane Wilma took away my orange and grapefruit trees but I do have a giant mango tree! My neighbor's orange tree is still standing tall....I'll have to tip toe over and get some to make this colorful salad. Thanks!

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  10. Fantastic looking salad!! I am green with envy that you have your own citrus tress in your yard!!

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  11. What a positively delicious salad! So bright and refreshing, like a burst of sunshine! I sure could use one of these now with over 2 feet of snow outside.

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  12. Very brigh, colorful and elegant salad :)

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  13. How lucky, I tried to grow citrus trees where I'm at, but it's too windy in the spring and it would blow off all the blossoms, then I wouldn't get any fruit. I made a similar salad for dinner tonight. Too bad I don't live closer, or I'd be knocking on your door for some oranges.
    -Gina-

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  14. Seriously Kim, you take the most stunning photos. This salad looks so good and combines some of my favorite ingredients.

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  15. you are so lucky Kim, how I wish i had my own orange and lime tree, I'll leave you the lemon one.
    the salads sounds so refreshing.

    have a wonderful rest of the week

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  16. You just reminded me that I need to buy a new dwarf lemon tree for my backyard, since the other one has seen better days. Nothing like homegrown citrus. Your salad has all of my favorites all wrapped in one great salad. Enjoy the upcoming weekend.

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  17. i love the idea of growing food in the backyard. we live in so cal also and grow guavas, plums and apricots. on a whim, my mom planted some random seeds from a fruit she happened to be eating one day a few years ago, and now it's about at the stage where it's going to bear fruit. we don't know what the fruit is going to be though. its really exciting, like expecting a baby. soon we'll find out what this tree we've been growing is!!

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  18. This is a beautiful salad! Wintertime salads with great citrus are such pick-me-ups! It gets a bit boring with all the root vegetables sitting on the plate! A cool salad like yours is a welcome treat!

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  19. Beautiful photos! I just saw a picture of a similar salad in this months Eating Light which almost got me to climb the neighbors fence to borrow some oranges, but your post just put me over the top, where are my shoes?

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  20. I love backyard orange trees. I never really knew how great they were until recently. My in-laws have an orange tree in their backyard and they bear the most delicious oranges I've ever tasted in my life. They are just the right amount of sweetness and so so juicy. Yum!
    I've only eaten them peeled and plain but I'll totally have to try your vinaigrette recipe.

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  21. Hi Liv - I just posted something very similar with fruits from my Citrus Salad Tree! Your salad looks gorgeous!
    LL

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  22. That looks so refreshing Kim! What a great salad for the color winter, something that is fresh and bright! And as always, your photos are gorgeous!

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  23. Looks beautiful fresh and super tasty:)

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  24. Looks so light and refreshing!!! Sunshine in a salad.

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  25. What a wonderful and refreshing sounding salad! I love citrus in the winter months, it brightens up whatever it is added to!

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  26. How fun to be able to just head to the backyard for your fresh citrus needs. (sigh..)

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  27. Bacon, blue cheese and fresh citrus--what's not to love! I really want to try your dressing. Mmmmm.

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  28. spinach and orange vinaigrette sounds interesting- never tried it but the recipe looks great- thanks for sharing :)

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  29. Great recipe. I also use sliced roasted beets and sliced fennel on mine. It's a knockout salad. I love arugula and your recipes.

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  30. I am so impressed that you grew your own citrus trees from slips! What a beautiful salad - a feast for the eyes as well as the tastebuds.

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  31. I LOVE oranges in a salad. I love the sweet and citrusy flavor they bring to the whole salad experience.

    I am extremely jealous of your citrus trees. Seriously. Who knows maybe they would enjoy some conversation I talk to my plants but sometimes I don't use gentle language with them if we are not understanding each other...heeheehee.

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  32. You have a LIME tree! I am SO jealous. Green with envy even. Yes, I've returned and am willing to visit your site again. Grudging congratulations due you as well. Very grudging. Your boys played brilliantly.

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