Sunday, January 20, 2008

Orange You Glad You Heard About This Salad? I Am!

I was sitting across from my friend Paula at a restaurant last week and we were waiting for our order to be taken. We were talking about cooking dinner later and she described her favorite winter salad and how to make it.

The history behind it was 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.


  1. Yum. Paula's salad reminds me very much of being about nine and going over to a friend's house. We had grilled pear halves with cottage cheese, and I thought that was the HEIGHT of sophistication. I bothered my mother about that for weeks. Ours never tasted the same, and I never realized why until I had them poached in wine. I think Mrs. Hesseltine used some kind of marinade. Still - grilled pears will always be a favorite...

  2. Beautiful salad and beautiful water color.

  3. Elle, what a delicious salad. I love the ingredients you use here - I'm such a fan of oranges!

  4. I adore oranges in salad and just made one this weekend with blood oranges. Oh, yum! Thanks for another recipe!

  5. That salad looks yummy! perfect for the middle of winter.

  6. You should show us more of your paintings, it's great! I love seeing what other talents food bloggers have!

  7. Missed you Elle! Glad you are back at home and getting comfy again. I hope we can plan a date to get together now that you are back.

  8. My husband and I just finished off a box of oranges - looks like I need to buy another!

  9. Beautiful still life - add another talent to your belt. The salad is making me smile, with the cherry on top. It's like dessert and main course in one. :)

  10. I am so happy to see more of your gorgeous artwork and beautiful salads! Glad you are back in a critter-free house, although the "imposed' vacation did sound lovely!

  11. We all need friends like Paula to share stories and a salad like this one. I'll skip the coconut and go for the nut I think!

  12. Tadmack, that grilled pear and cottage cheese salad sounds good, too. Isn't it fun how food memories are similar?

    Glamah16, Thanks!

    Patricia, oranges are such a great ingredient, especially in the winter...something about the tang is cheery.

    Susan,Blood oranges in salad sounds wonderful!

    Sandi, Yep, yummy and sweet.

    Brilynn, Thanks...never thought to post paintings, but this one went so well with the salad.

    Anna, Soon, soon we WILL get together. How is Feb. looking?

    Deborah, I'm impressed! A whole box. So good for you, too.

    Annemarie, Thanks, glad you like the painting. The salad really is on the sweet side...could be dessert.

    Helen, it would have been a real vacation if I hadn't been so tired, but the beach is such a wonderful spirit lifter. Glad you liked the art and the salad :)

    Tanna, Friends are priceless and shared recipes are the best...I'd go with the nuts, too.

  13. Hey Elle, so glad to have you back hon. Sounds like you had a restful time.

    I was trying to think of some clever way to use to word orange to say that yes I am glad I heard about the salad but I'm lost :D

  14. Hi Elle! February is patchwork, but 2, 3 or 10 are clear for now.