When people tell us they don't believe in winter salads, we know right away they don't live here in California. Yes, we know it's a rarity to, like us, have a farmers market where you can get fresh ingredients year round and where the words "winter salad" don't sound like an oxymoron.
But even if you don't live in California, you probably can get the ingredients in this recipe. Made with under-appreciated winter green escarole, an abundance of winter citurs, and a eat-it-off-the-spoon good citrus honey rosemary dressing, this will change your opinion on eating salads when it's snowing outside!
Oh, and, if you need some ideas for what to serve this winter salad with, check out our polenta party menu that's chockfull of comforting but healthy winter recipes.
or butter lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
Coarsely crush or chop rosemary and place in a small saucepan. Add honey and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and let steep for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk olive oil, vinegar, orange juice and salt in a large bowl until combined. Discard the rosemary and add the honey to the olive oil mixture, whisk to combine then season to taste with salt and pepper.
Dressing can be made up to 4 days ahead of time.
Meanwhile, heat the oven to broil and arrange a rack 6 inches from the broiler. Place the halved mandarins on a parchment-lined rimmed sheet and top with a sprinkle of sugar (this isn't to make them sweeter but to help them brown). Place mandarins under the broiler and, watching carefully, broil until blistered and browned.
To serve, add the escarole to the dressing and toss well to coat. Serve the salad topped with the oranges and sprinkled with almonds. Have your guests squeeze the mandarins over the top of their salad or eat the fruit from the skin directly.
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