Food blogging can be a funny mix of reality and theater. Instead of buying a dazzling array of seasonal citrus, I went with what we had sitting around, three plain old (juicy, delicious) oranges and Thanksgiving ingredient leftovers (buttermilk, shallot, pomegranates, and rosemary included), which came together perfectly with tender spinach in a lovely jewel-toned plate. At the same time, to get the shot for this post, I had to place the salad on my hideous faux-marble, dark emerald green kitchen floor. And there it is, your perfect holiday salad, served, however beautifully, on the kitchen floor.
Though I knew I wanted a salad brimming with bright fruits and young spinach, I couldn’t put my finger on the right kind of dressing. After some tinkering, I came up with a dressing that was light and a little creamy, with a hint of fresh rosemary, orange zest bitterness, and mustard-driven bite. Shallots, both in the dressing and scattered over the salad, deliver bracing, satisfying pops throughout.
Another way of saying that is, this salad is easy to make, nice to look at, and complex to eat. Let the holidays begin!
Regarding pomegranates, each one has lots and lots of seeds and they stay fresh in their tailor-made pods for a good long while. It takes three minutes to get the seeds out. Don’t be lazy and buy the pre-packaged seeds–taking control of your kitchen starts with pomegranates.
Orange Pomegranate Salad with Buttermilk Dressing
for the dressing
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon orange zest
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar or white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 teaspoon shallot, minced
1/2 teaspoon minced rosemary
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
One at a time, whisk the zest, juice, vinegar, mustard, and buttermilk into the olive oil. Add the shallots, rosemary, and sea salt. Set aside while you prepare the salad.
for the salad
1 large bunch spinach
3 oranges, or other sweet-tasting citrus
1 large pomegranate
1/2 shallot, sliced paper thin
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, plus sprigs for garnish
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Cut the very top and bottom off of the oranges. Carefully slice off the peel, removing the white pith while sparing as much flesh as possible. Cut into 1/2″ thick slices.
Pour most of the dressing over the spinach, and turn with your fingers to coat.
Spread spinach on a large platter and tuck the oranges throughout. Scatter with pomegranate seeds and shallots. Finish with a final drizzle of dressing, a scattering of rosemary leaves, a pinch of sea salt, and several twists fresh pepper.