Fresh, crisp, light, and brightly-flavored aren’t terms that are used to describe winter food very often. But, this is a winter salad, and it’s all of those things. Those cute boxes of clementines in all the grocery stores had been calling out to me for weeks, and I finally brought one home. I haven’t yet decided how to use the remaining 50 or so clementines other than for snacking, but seven of them were delicious in this salad. There are also kumquats, hence the name, celery slices, and crunchy walnuts. I found the recipe in Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson.
The clementines were peeled, and the segments were pulled apart. Celery stalks were thinly sliced on a diagonal. I really like celery leaves, and I tend to use the interior stalks with leaves intact for salads. So, the slices and chopped leaves joined the clementine segments in a large bowl. Then, ten kumquats were thinly sliced, seeds were scooted aside, and those slices joined the salad followed by toasted walnuts. A quick vinaigrette was made from lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper. The vinaigrette was carefully mixed into the salad by hand so as to prevent the citrus pieces from breaking. Last, the plated salad was topped with parmesan shaved from a block of cheese.
There’s nothing wrong with typical, slow-roasted and braised winter dishes, in fact there’s one I’m planning to mention soon, but this salad was a nice bit of freshness in the midst of this season. It was sweet, tart, nutty, and fruity all at the same time. As I served it, I thought it might also be nice on a bed of baby arugula leaves to add a peppery note, or fennel slices might be a lovely addition to it. I don’t mean to overcomplicate it though because the simplicity of its mix of flavors was great just as it was.