Tuesday, December 31

Cara Cara Orange, Avocado, & Butter Lettuce Salad

A vibrant winter salad adapted from Suzanne Goin's The A.O.C. Cookbook.

Suzanne Goin's Cara Cara Orange Avocado Salad

Christmas always means that I get a couple of new cookbooks from my wishlist. When I get a new book, I literally read the whole thing from cover to cover and then make a list of all the recipes that I want to try from it, which I add to my iPhone's already incredibly long list of pending recipes and ideas. One of the new ones I just received was Suzanne Goin's The A.O.C. Cookbook, which is based off dishes she makes at one of my favorite restaurants, A.O.C. I'm not even done reading it yet, but I already made an adaptation of one of her salads the other day. She categorizes her dishes by season, ensuring that the ingredients in this winter salad will be at their peak freshness and availability. I picked up the Cara Cara oranges, avocados, and butter lettuce at my local farmers market, although you could substitute whatever type of orange or soft lettuce is available closest to you. The creamy avocado dressing adds a richness to the tender lettuce and sweet orange segments and the hint of chile makes the whole thing pop. It's a fresh, bright way to enjoy winter produce and makes for an interesting side dish among more traditional cold-weather fare.

Cara Cara Orange, Avocado, & Butter Lettuce Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing:
For Dressing
  • Remove the pit from 1 large, very ripe avocado and scoop the flesh into a blender with 2-3 tbsp. fresh-squeezed lime juice, 1/4 c. water, and a large pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Blend until smooth, then open the lid of the blender and slowly stream in 1/3 c. grapeseed oil* while the motor is running.
  • Turn off blender immediately once all the oil is added and transfer to a bowl. Stir in 2 tbsp. heavy cream and check for seasoning.
For Salad
  • Remove the core from 1 head of butter lettuce and wash and dry thoroughly.**
  • Meanwhile, cut the skin off of 2 Cara Cara oranges, and then slice between the membranes of each section over a bowl to catch all the segments and juices.
  • Remove the pit and skin from 1-2 ripe avocados and slice thinly. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Toss the lettuce in a bowl with some of the dressing and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Arrange the lettuce onto plates, then scatter some of the orange and avocado slices over, drizzle a little of the orange juice over, and a scatter 1/2 thinly sliced Fresno chili on top.

Serves two (light meal)
Serves four (side dish)
*Available at most grocery stores. Can substitute with a light olive oil.
**The best way to do this is to soak the lettuce leaves in a sink filled with cold water, then spin dry in a salad spinner. You can also wrap the wet lettuce in a dry kitchen towel and whip the towel around until the lettuce is dry.