The history behind it was fun...as an eleven year old she had gone to visit a girlfriend for an overnight and the friend's mom made this salad. She wasn't all that interested in food, so Paula's mom was surprised when she came home the next day and raved about the salad and asked her to fix it. It became a family favorite and is still one of Paula's. It might become one of your favorites, too.
This orange salad is simple and easy to make, fresh, has the zing of fresh oranges, has lots of healthy greens, some sweetness from the raisins & coconut, and just a bit of mellow from the mayo. It is very colorful and can be made ahead on individual plates and kept chilled until you serve it. You don't need any additional dressing. This is a knife and fork salad. The juice from the oranges as you cut into them acts as a dressing on the greens.
We made it with and without the coconut. Next time I might leave off the coconut and add some finely chopped walnuts or pecans...or even macadamia nuts. The original recipe calls for a maraschino cherry in the middle, but somehow mine have become lost in the move, along with all my extracts...vanilla was even in a big bottle!...and honey and steak sauce and Worcestershire sauce and who knows what else. This is one of the big downsides of moving everything out of the house...getting it back in the house :)
Paula's Winter Salad
For each portion, on a salad plate spread out about a cup of greens. We used mesclun mix, but baby spinach is great, also butter lettuce.
Peel one large navel orange for each two servings. Slice in six slices, slicing through the middle of the orange, with the stem end and navel end to each side. Look at the photos to see what I mean.
Place three orange slices (half of the orange) one each plate, over the greens. Place a dab of mayonnaise (I used fat free) in the center of each slice. Place a maraschino cherry half in the middle of each plate.
Sprinkle each place with about a tablespoon of golden raisins and a tablespoon of regular raisins. Sprinkle about a tablespoon of shredded, moist coconut over each plate.
That's it. Each plate serves one, so make as many plates up as you have people to serve. serve chilled.
By coincidence, a few days before that lunch, I began a watercolor still life with oranges. Here is how it looks so far.