Mandarin Orange, Gorgonzola, and Pecan Salad with a Raspberry-Lime Vinaigrette

Mandarin Orange, Gorgonzola, and Pecan Salad with a Raspberry-Lime Vinaigrette
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Today we are making bread dough, so just a quick recipe. Or maybe more of an idea for one of your salads and a bit of thought process about how this particular salad combination came to fruition.

We knew we wanted a salad to go with dinner, ideally with a bit of sweet, a bit savory, a bit sour, a bit bitter, and a bit salty. Just to hit all the tastebuds, which makes for that more complex interaction of flavors. When we looked in the fridge, we saw mixed lettuce, and some arugula, to form the basis of the salad and provide a hint of bitterness. For the salty and savory, we decided to add the wedge of Gorgonzola that was a few weeks old. Now for the sweet; well, we had just picked up fresh mandarin oranges — it’s the season — so that would be the sweet. The pecans added a bit more sweet and a bit of crunchiness — nice.

Then came the issue of a dressing. We wanted to play off the citrus flavors of the mandarin orange; we were only using a couple of oranges, and that would help them stand out. In the crisper, we had a couple of limes that could stand in for vinegar in a vinaigrette. But lime and olive oil would be a bit too tart; so, what goes with lime that’s sweet? Hmm. Aren’t Lime Rickeys sometimes made with raspberry? We weren’t sure, but it sounds reasonable, so that set the flavors of the vinaigrette. Now all we have to do is put it together.

Serves 2

Mandarin Orange, Gorgonzola, and Pecan Salad with a Raspberry-Lime Vinaigrette

Mandarin Orange, Gorgonzola, and Pecan Salad with a Raspberry-Lime Vinaigrette

Ingredients

    Salad ingredients
  • 1 cup mixed lettuce, chopped
  • 1/3 cup arugula, chopped
  • 2 Tbs chopped pecans
  • 2 fresh Mandarin oranges
  • 1 ounce Gorgonzola cheese
  • Vinaigrette ingredients
  • Juice from 1/2 lime (about 1 Tbs)
  • 2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil (twice as much as the lime juice)
  • 1 tsp raspberry preserves

Abbreviated Instructions

Peel and arrange the Mandarin orange slices on plates. Mound the lettuce and arugula in the center, sprinkle with pecan bits, and place small slices of Gorgonzola on top.

Combine the vinaigrette ingredients and whisk to emulsify. Drizzle over salad.

http://scratchinit.halversen.com/2012/12/mandarin-orange-gorgonzola-and-pecan-salad-with-a-raspberry-lime-vinaigrette/

Salad ingredients:

  • 1 cup mixed lettuce, chopped
  • 1/3 cup arugula, chopped
  • 2 Tbs chopped pecans
  • 2 fresh Mandarin oranges
  • 1 ounce Gorgonzola cheese

Vinaigrette ingredients:

  • Juice from 1/2 lime (about 1 Tbs)
  • 2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil (twice as much as the lime juice)
  • 1 tsp raspberry preserves

Ingredient discussion:

Not much to discuss; use good olive oil, and fresh lime juice, if possible. Freshness always makes a difference.

Procedure:

plated salad
Put the salad together so that it looks nice. This is especially true if you’ll be serving individual plates. Everyone wants food that looks good.

Assemble the salad. Peel and arrange the Mandarin orange slices on plates. Mound the lettuce and arugula in the center, sprinkle with pecan bits, and place small slices of Gorgonzola on top. Make it look nice; since salads are so ubiquitous, presentation is important.

lime squeezing
We really like using one of the old-fashioned reamers for juicing. They work amazingly well, leaving behind only the rind and a bit of pulp. You should make do with what you have.

Squeeze the lime. We use a reamer — they work amazingly well, but you can also use a fork; just stick the fork into the cut part of the lime, and work it around while squeezing.

The vinaigrette, just before whisking. We know, we know, some people say you have to drizzle in the oil while whisking. Balderdash!

Make the vinaigrette. We measured the lime juice that we had squeezed and ended up with a little over a tablespoon. Following the 2 parts olive oil to 1 part vinegar, we added two tablespoons of olive oil. Then, we added about a teaspoon of raspberry preserves; we didn’t want too much raspberry, just a hint. After that, just whisk to emulsify, and drizzle over the salad.

A nice little salad completely scratched.

The vinaigrette was nice, but, in retrospect, it could have used a bit of pepper, and perhaps the tiniest amount of Dijon mustard (1/8 tsp), which we may try next time. With those caveats, we give it 3 stars for now.

Worth the trouble?

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