This Clementine Salad is a green salad with a tangy vinaigrette dressing and a few simple ingredients that work splendidly together.
What exactly is a clementine?
In the fall and winter the markets are full of citrus fruits and one of our favorites is a clementine. We sometimes use the name interchangably with tangerines, and they are closely related, but slightly different fruits.
Both are hybrids of mandarins and this article from Healthline.com explains the difference.
Both would actually work great with the flavors in this salad, but we wrote it up for clementines, because they're more readily available these days.
In our area most of our citrus fruit comes from Florida. Do you consider Florida to be a part of the south? Read about that and more in Southern Food: Then & Now.
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The flavor combination in this clementine salad is almost magical
To come up with the ingredients we consulted our Flavor Bible. If you enjoy pairing differents foods together you need this in your kitchen.
We use it quite often in developing recipes. If you're a food geek like us you'll find it just downright fun to look up an ingredient and see what complements are in the Flavor Bible.
So what are those magic flavors?
The foundation is a buttery lettuce like Bibb or Boston. The clementines get paired with another seasonal and tangy addition - strawberries.
Roasted and salted pistachios add the perfect crunchy texture and brininess and the whole thing gets dressed with a vinaigrette based on olive oil and white wine vinegar and livened up with cumin.
To really kick things up a notch you could make Southwest Salad Dressing to go over it. It's similar to this one, but has flavors that are a bit bolder.
The final touch
We think the crowning glory (which, by the way would make a perfect Christmas Salad) is a crumble of pungent blue cheese. Gorgonzola was our choice, but for blue lovers you may use whatever you have on hand or love.
Another citrus-y green salad with amazing flavors is this Salad with Marinated Asparagus. The really cool thing about that one is that the marinade for the asparagus actually doubles as the citrus dressing. If you want to add some protein to make this a complete meal, try adding this Grilled Chicken.
And for even more variety if you love citrus with your green salads you'll want to add this one to your rotation. Salad with Grapefruit and Champagne Vinaigrette makes the most of another favorite fruit!
Peel the clementines for the salad
One of the great features of a clementine or a tangerine is that they're so easy to peel and eat a segment at a time. You could certainly do that and put whole segments or half segments on your salad.
To make it extra beautiful, though, we peeled our clementines with a knife. That takes off every bit of the white pith and keeps them bright and bold.
For a traditional southern style citrus side you'll want to take a step back in time and make Ambrosia Salad. It's just like your grandma's!
Clementine Salad with Tangy Vinaigrette
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2 teaspooons honey
- ¾ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cloves garlic smashed
- 2-3 heads butter lettuce washed torn into bite sized pieces
- 4 clementines or tangerines peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
- ¾ cup sliced fresh strawberries
- ½ cup pistachios roasted and salted
- ½ cup crumbled blue cheese optional
- Combine all ingredients in jar or other container with tightly-fitting lid.
- Shake until oil is emulsified and all ingredients are well blended.
- Place torn lettuce on 4 individual salad plates or in an appropriately-sized salad serving bowl.
- Top with clementine pieces and strawberries.
- If serving with blue cheese add it next and then top with pistachios.
- Drizzle with dressing.