Being petite and easy to peel, I'm likely to grab a clementine far more often than an orange. They're so darn cute. I can certainly work my way through those wooden crates in lightening speed. Clementines signal the arrival of citrus season; bright displays of vibrant oranges and tangerines make me long for sunny Floridian skies. As a kid, I spent many winter weekends at my aunt's house in Pinellas. There are a few things I remember vividly about this house. I remember football-sized pinecones collecting in the yard, and picking ripe oranges out back in the morning sun. We ate them on the patio sitting in lawn chairs. I sat with my feet up because the third thing I remember about this house was the chameleons. Those little lizards running beneath the table fascinated me. I kept my feet up just to be sure they couldn't quite get to me. I admired them up high; watching their skin change from brown to green, green to brown.
Donny's childhood trip to Florida also involved chameleons. However, he got much closer to the action. His story has more bravado and flare. In fact, he decided to bring the chameleon action with him, successfully transporting one home on a flight to Boston. That wouldn't fly today. Pun intended. The audacity of that boy, I'll tell ya. That poor lizard accompanied him in his sweat suit for a good thousand miles, probably turning black with fear. Once home, he managed to keep him alive for a few months on a substantial diet of flies and lettuce, telltale signs of a future caring husband. Then there was an unfortunate run in with his cat Cuddles, a misleading name. There was no cuddling involved. We'll let the story end here.
But let's get back to the citrus, shall we? Biting into a clementine is like biting into sunshine; my thought process being that if I bite into enough of these, the cold winter chill will give way to warmer spring weather. Citrus is a bit of a tease like that, or a bit of hope, depending on your perspective. So when I walked into these satsumas the other day, I was instantly drawn to them. They resemble my darling clementine and still had their leaves attached.
A citrus salad was in order, composed of spinach, roasted beets, thinly sliced red onions, deeply toasted walnuts and goat cheese. If you like beets, this salad should be right up your alley. It does take a little planning ahead as the beets take quite some time to roast. I happened upon red and golden varieties and roasted them off one morning. When lunch rolled around, all that was left was some chopping and assembling. No satsumas? No problem. You could certainly substitute clementine or orange segments. This salad is a looker. Such a flirt. I warned you about the citrus tease. The vinaigrette is bright, zesty, and clean tasting. If winter has you feeling cold and heavy, this salad should lighten up your load and lift your spirit. Bite into some sunshine.
~Satsuma Spinach Salad with Roasted Beets Recipe~
2 medium beets, roasted and sliced into wedges*
8 cups loosely packed baby spinach leaves
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 satsumas or clementines, peeled into segments
1/3 cup toasted walnuts, chopped**
1-2 oz. crumbled goat cheese
*Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove stems and leaves if attached (save for juicing, if you juice) and scrub beets. Place beets in a foil packet with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Roast in oven until cooked through, approximately 40-60 minutes. You want them to be fork tender. Remove from the oven and let cool. Once they are cool enough to handle, peel and slice into 1/4 inch slices. From there, you can cut into wedges.
**To toast walnuts, place in a dry cast iron or frying pan over medium heat. Watch carefully and stir frequently until they start to brown. Your nose will tell you when they're done. It should take about 5 minutes.
Assemble the salad by layering spinach, red onion, beet slices, and satsumas. Crumble with goat cheese and top with toasted walnuts. Prepare vinaigrette and dress salad before serving. Serves 4.
~Citrus Vinaigrette Recipe~
zest and juice of 1 orange
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp chopped fresh chives (optional)
pinch of sea salt
Whisk ingredients together and drizzle over salad.