Orange, Goat Cheese, and Toasted Pecan Salad

Last week, I came across some Cara Cara oranges at my grocery store – now, I like oranges in general, but Cara Cara oranges are EXTRA delicious. I find them to be a bit sweeter than a regular navel orange, and their color is a little prettier as well (what? I like my food to look good). Anyways, I picked a few of them up, since I needed their zest for my orange ginger icebox cakes anyways, and figured I’d just snack on them after I’d used all their zest.

As I was snacking on one of the oranges Saturday night, I decided that they would be delicious in a salad; so, Sunday afternoon, I decided to whip up a light, summery salad that included the oranges, and used the juice as part of the vinaigrette. I think this salad will definitely become a go-to in the warmer months!

Orange, Goat Cheese, and Toasted Pecan Salad
Serves 2

– one large romaine heart, washed and chopped
– one large orange, supremed*
– 2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
– 1/4 cup pecans, lightly toasted and chopped
– orange vinaigrette (recipe included below)

*Have you ever supremed an orange? Supreming (soo-PREM-ing, not soo-PREEM-ing) is a method of cutting apart a citrus fruit so that you are just left with the fruit itself, and none of the skin that surrounds the individual segments. It makes the fruit easier to eat, and also makes it look prettier! Here is a quick tutorial on how to do it:

1.) Start by cutting the top and bottom ends of your orange off:

2.) Next, you are going to cut off a piece of the rind – you want to sort of slide the blade of your knife right between where the flesh of the orange meets the rind (right at the top of the fruit), and then sort of follow of the curve down the side of the fruit. This will remove part of the rind, while still leaving most of the fruit intact. (Side note: you are going to want to use a sharp knife for this, so make sure you sharpen your knives up before you start!)

Watch your fingers, please.

3.) Continue cutting this way all around the orange. If one of your cuts leaves a little pith (white part) behind, you can just gently trim it off. When you are done, you’ll be left with a naked orange:

4.) For this next part, you can choose to use a paring knife, if you prefer – I use my larger chef’s knife, because I am comfortable using it accurately, but if you are worried about shaving off the tips of your fingers, a smaller paring knife is perfect. Hold the naked orange in your non-dominant hand, and then take the knife, and make a small cut into the orange, right next to one of the white lines of pith. You want to cut just far enough so that you free the segment from the middle of the orange, but not all the way through. Make a second cut on the inside of the pith line on the opposite side of the orange segment (got that?), and the clean segment of orange should pop right out!

See the white line of pith JUST above the knife blade? (Also, please kindly ignore my chubby carny hands. Thank you.)

5.) Keep working your way around the orange until all the segments are removed, and you’ll end up with something that looks like this:

6.) Over a small bowl, squeeze as much juice as you can out of the leftover orange. We’ll use that for the salad dressing later!

Now that you know how to supreme an orange, here is how you make the salad (way less complicated, I promise):

1.) Start by toasting your pecans. Put them into a small, dry skillet, over medium-low heat; stir them every couple minutes, until they get very fragrant and lightly browned, then remove them from the pan, let them cool, and chop them.

2.) Now make your dressing. Use about 2T of the orange juice, 1 T olive oil, 1 T red wine vinegar, and a pinch each of kosher salt and pepper. Whisk everything together and set aside.

3.) Put your romaine into bowls, and sprinkle the goat cheese, chopped pecans, and orange segments over the top. Dress it with as much or as little dressing as you like.

Super easy, light, and delicious. And as a bonus, now you know how to make extra pretty orange segments for your salads!

Please don’t cut off your fingers, I would feel terrible,
Tina

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