In typical Rach-fashion, I’m posting a Winter Citrus Salad now that Spring has shown up. I’m contrary (or disorganized) like that.
Honestly, the words “winter citrus salad” are the kind of thing that make me question whether I knew anything at all about food. Because, seriously, who the hell slices oranges and calls that shit a salad? Me, apparently. I’m not sure when I became the Crazy Citrus Lady, given that my trac record with oranges is mostly lobbing them over fences or avoiding them at school lunches.
The only standard-issue overly-orange-orange I actually remember enjoying was in the middle of the Sinai desert. I could tell you some romantic story about how I finally understood the beauty and majesty of a simple citrus eaten cross-legged in the sand dunes. Or I could tell you that I was quite possibly hallucinating at that point because I managed to pack an entire backpack that was taller than I was full of goddamn stuff and yet ventured into Egypt without a pair of sunglasses.
Why, yes, yes I did nearly go glare-blind from the pinnacle of my camel. Fun times!
Anyway, I’d honestly not realized that there was anything other than your common orange-skinned, orange-fleshed…. orange until perhaps my twenties. I didn’t exactly spend those years in grocery stores or health food shops, to be blunt. Mostly, those years featured more sambuca than citrus.
So it turns out, I don’t hate all oranges. Just the ones that are generically hued, yet utterly tasteless. Like most of the oranges I’d encountered before I paid any attention to anything other than avoiding myself.
There’s a whole range of gloriously colored, jewel-dripping orange varieties out there. And they have so much flavor that even this reformed citrus hater was totally converted. I’ve used a mixture of cara cara and blood oranges here in this Winter Citrus Salad, but you can switch out any mixture of oranges you like. If I weren’t married to a grapefruit-hater, I think that would be a lovely addition here, too. A mix of different varieties, flavors and colors here really makes for a gorgeous presentation.
Although this Winter Citrus Salad looks a little frou frou fancy, it’s really a matter of slicing oranges, red onion and some avocado wedges. I’ve brought in some simple blanched shrimp for protein that doesn’t overwhelm or outshine the citrus and tied all the flavors together with a punchy lemon basil vinaigrette that comes together in literally seconds.
I didn’t add them for the photos (and kicked myself after), but my Crispy Herbed Croutons are perfect as a finishing touch here!
- 1 lb / 454 g peeled & deveined shrimp
- 2½ - 3 lbs / 1134 - 1360 g mixed winter citrus like cara cara & blood oranges
- ½ red onion
- 2 medium avocados
- ¼ cup / 60 ml extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup / 24 g fresh basil leaves
- 3 tbsp / 45 ml fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp / 2 g rinsed salted capers
- Fresh basil leaves
- Crispy Herbed Croutons
- BLANCH: Bring a pot of salted water to the boil. Fill a large bowl halfway with ice, then top off with enough water to cover. Set aside. When the water is boiling, add the shrimp and cook until they're opaque and hot all the way through, about a minute or so, depending on the size of the shrimp. Drain the shrimp and add them to the ice bath, stirring them through the water to make sure they're covered.
- SLICE: While the shrimp are cooling, prep the salad. Cut the top and bottom from each end of the oranges, then carefully slice off and discard the peel and pith. Thinly slice the oranges into slices. Thinly slice the red onion and layer the onion and orange slices in a platter or divide them between individual bowls.
- SCOOP: Cut the avocados in half and remove the pits. Scoop out each half and cut them into four wedges. Add the avocado to the platter or bowls.
- BLEND: Add all the vinaigrette ingredients to a high sided jar or cup. Use an immersion blender to blend until you have a smooth dressing. Taste and add salt, if needed.
- SERVE: Drain and pat the shrimp dry, adding them to the platter or bowls. Drizzle the salad with the lemon basil vinaigrette and serve immediately. Garnish with additional fresh basil or Crispy Herbed Croutons, if you like.
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