Desperation Citrus Tossed Salad

Last weekend, I was in a situation that made me wish I was Sabrina from "Bewitched."

A couple of families were at my house for a last-minute casual dinner, and the person who I thought was bringing a salad showed up empty handed. This meant the meal would be almost devoid of fruits and vegetables. Trying not to look panicked, I scrounged around in my fridge for salad fixings. What I found:
- carrots and celery
- iceberg lettuce, left over from tacos for dinner a few nights prior
- the last of a bag of romaine salad mix
- a grapefruit
- bananas

Slim pickings, wouldn't you agree? I wound up using several of those ingredients in a variation of a Mandarin Orange Tossed Salad that my mom has made for years. Since I only had one can of mandarin oranges, I added sections of the grapefruit as well. I served sugared almonds on the side, because some of my guests couldn't tolerate nuts. I would have preferred something oniony in it, but it wasn't half bad.

Nah, who needs witchcraft?

I'm contributing this to a food blog event with the theme of seasonal salads. In these snowy parts, "seasonal" is a relative term because there's just not much harvesting being done. The best produce tends to be flown-in citrus fruits, which are at their best at this time of year. The rest of the ingredients are either canned goods or those that don't vary in terms of quality or cost from season to season. It won't be the most exciting contribution to the round-up, but I think it works.

Desperation Citrus Tossed Salad

Do not feel like you need to follow this recipe precisely. The idea is that it was created out of desperation. Use whatever mild lettuces you have on hand. Use whatever citrus you have on hand (not lemons or limes, though). If you have something with a mild onion flavor, like scallions or red onions (which I didn't), add those to balance out the sweet orange and vinaigrette flavors.

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 pinch ground black pepper
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup white sugar
3/4 head iceberg letttuce, chopped
1/4 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1 cup (or so) chopped celery
1 (11 ounce) can mandarin orange segments, drained
1 grapefruit, peeled and cut into segments

In a jar with a tight fitting lid, combine the oil, vinegar, sugar, parsley, salt and pepper. Cover and shake well. Refrigerate until use.

In a medium saucepan over medium low heat, cook and stir the almonds and sugar until the sugar is melted and the almonds are coated. Remove from heat and cool. Break apart if they stick together. Store at room temperature until ready to serve salad.

In a large bowl, toss together the lettuces, celery, oranges, grapefruit, and salad dressing until evenly coated. You can toss the almonds with the salad or serve them on the side.


Deborah said...

It's definitely better than I could have come up with!!

Erika W. said...

Oh I hate that! When different portions of the meal belong to different guests, and then they don't bring what I expected...drives me mad!

You did very well with your desperation salad. Sounds like a sprinkling of onions would have made it sing!

Emily said...

Way to save the day with your "Desperation Citrus Tossed Salad".
I probably would have started yelling at the person who forgot the salad, but you stayed cool as a cucumber.
Mmm...cucumber would be good in this.

Catherine Wilkinson said...

I love this desperation theme...that's how I come up with the most...intersting recipes. Cause I'm too lazy to get to the store.
New motto: "Desperation is the mother of invention!"
Now, I need to go see what desperation lurks in my fridge....

Andrew said...

no desperation needed my end to try this one out; simple but tasty sounding! Many thanks for taking part in Waiter