Whip up a Citrus Salad to Combat Wintertime Blues
You’re sitting outside on a patio, wearing shorts and a t-shirt. The sun heats your skin and draws up the scent of warm grass. You pick up a ripe peach and bite into it, the sweet juice running down your chin…
A siren begins to wail. You jump. You’re not outside; you’re in your apartment. It’s 5:00pm in January, the sun is long gone, and temperatures are falling. Summer couldn’t be farther away. Depressed, you think about how the siren’s wail reminds you of the pack of wolves in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie. In your opinion, your apartment might as well be in the middle of a desolate prairie, half-buried in snow, surrounded by wolves (it was 3°F earlier in the week…same thing, right?)
You turn up the heat, don a sweater, and decide to cook something warm for dinner. After all, January is comfort food time. Soup time (see yesterday’s post about Piatto Unico’s delicious soups), chili time, mac’n’cheese time.
And yet, unlike the Ingalls family, you have access to a supermarket full of food from all over the country and world. Sure, you can make a big pot of soup, but don’t you want the sweetness of summer in your mouth, too? The juiciness, the tanginess, the tastes that will transport you away from this wolf-infested hellhole to the tropical paradise of your daydreams?
I assume the answer is yes.
The dinnertime solution: citrus salads.
I have a big soft spot for citrus salads. And by citrus salads, I mean salads with greens and sections of orange or grapefruit. There are other fruit-vegetable salads, like ones with strawberries or apples. But in my opinion, strawberries and apples are too sweet for salads, and their sweetness overpowers the taste of vegetables. Citrus is the way to go – bright but sour enough to nicely compliment the greens.
Lucky for us, citrus fruits are in season in exotic lands during the months of November through February. They’re extra-juicy right now, all the better for eating.
I suggest either the Citrus Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette or the Arugula and Orange Salad with Fig-Tangerine Dressing, both from Catherine Walthers’ book Raising the Salad Bar.
The first one combines grapefruits, oranges, and crunchy daikon radishes with a mix of radicchio, butterhead lettuce and frisee. It is colorful, light, and deliciously citrusy. Meanwhile, the second one is sweet and salty, with fig jam, arugula, blue cheese, and orange. Both are light and easy, perfect contrasts to whatever comfort food you cook up.
So next time you find yourself daydreaming about summertime, consider a citrus salad for dinner. It might not recreate the feeling of sun on your skin, but at least it’ll transport your taste buds to paradise.
Meagan Goldman is a food-lover and aspiring writer. You can follow her at www.meaganbakerwriting.blogspot.com