Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Orange Macadamia Salad with Crispy 'Butterflies'

Orange Macadamia Salad with Crispy 'Butterflies'
(You could add some grilled or poached sliced chicken if you like.)

The little crispy "butterflies" are optional, I happened to have a few wonton wrappers leftover so used them here. Quickly shaped and fried, they add a whimsical garnish and a crispy crunch.
You can just peel and slice the orange(s), but I like to cut the sections into supremes*,
eliminating all pith & membrane from the sections.I use bagged, organic baby field or spring mix for the greens in this salad. Baby spinach leave would work very well, too.
Be sure to toast the macadamia nuts to bring out the flavor. Toasted almonds (sliced or slivered), hazelnuts, or pecans would also be very good.

Besides the wonton wrapper "Butterflies", as a final garnish I slivered some candied ginger and sprinkled it over the orange segments.

Here are the ingredients for the vinaigrette (and basic proportions.) I rarely measure when I'm cooking, only when I'm baking, so taste as you go along. You may like it sweeter or more tart than I do. :)

Orange Vinaigrette

Orange zest
Orange juice
Unseasoned Rice Vinegar
Pure Maple Syrup
A little granulated sugar or Splenda (if you want more sweetness)
A splash of oil (canola or very mild olive oil)
Salt and Pepper (optional)

Before cutting the orange, use a microplane to collect some of the zest and set aside.After cutting th orange into supremes, squeeze the remaining membrane into a medium bowl, collecting the juice. (You can add a little more fresh orange juice if you like.)

For a salad for two I used one large, sweet orange.
The juice from the membrane of the orange, (after cutting into supremes)
1 to 2 tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar (unseasoned)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
I added a teaspoon of Splenda
a pinch of kosher salt
Canola oil ~ about 2 1/2 teaspoons

Whisk all together in a bowl, taste. Adjust ingredients to your preference, drizzle over the composed salads just before serving.

* How to section an orange into supremes (click).

I don't eat a lot of fried foods, and rarely when I dine out. I'd rather prepare it at home where I can control the quality and freshness of the oil.

Although I have a couple of large electric fryers I leave them on the shelf and reach for the much smaller "Fry Daddy". It heats the oil in a matter of minutes and requires only a couple of cups of oil rather than quarts, as larger fryers or pots do. It's ideal for adding a little interesting garnish to a dish, like these wonton butterflies.

Depending upon what is cooked in the oil I usually can use it several times before discarding as long as it is kept refrigerated between uses. (I use a separate batch of oil for seafood.)

To make the "butterflies" simply streak a line of water down the center of each wonton wrapper with your fingertip then gather/pinch the center into accordian folds. Pinch the middle to make the shape hold it's shape then fry in hot oil until golden brown on each side. Drain well.

It's one of my favorite salads; I hope you like it too.

A little sunshine on your plate. :)

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