Pixie tangerines, with their perky-sweet flavor profile, are the perfect partner in a green salad, especially when fresh baby spinach is the main event. Grown in Ojai, these tasty tangerines are generally available through May, past the availability for most other tangerine varieties.
Napping baby spinach leaves with a creamy Roquefort dressing shows off sections of tangerines to their best advantage. Add strips of fried bacon, and the mix becomes salad paradise.
Baby Spinach and Tangerine Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing
Yield: 3 to 4 servings
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Sherry vinegar, plus more if needed; see cook’s notes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese, Roquefort preferred but not mandatory
1/3 cup crème fraiche or sour cream
2 slices thick bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
10 cups fresh clean baby spinach, about 5 1/4 ounces
3 to 4 tangerines, Pixies preferred, peeled, pulled into sections
Cook’s notes: If you don’t have Sherry vinegar, you can substitute unseasoned rice wine vinegar or Champagne vinegar. The dressing can be prepared 2 days in advance and stored airtight in the refrigerator; if it becomes too thick, stir in a smidgen of milk.
1. In a small bowl, combine juice, vinegar, salt, and garlic; stir to combine. Let the mixture sit long enough for salt to dissolve, a minute or two. Stir in olive oil until well combined. Stir in blue cheese. Stir in crème fraiche or sour cream. Set aside
2. In a large skillet, fry the strips of bacon until crisp and golden, about 8 minutes. Place on plate lined with paper towels to drain and cool.
3. Place spinach and tangerine sections in a large bowl. Add dressing a little at a time, tossing between additions. Add bacon and toss. Taste and add a little more Sherry vinegar if needed. Divide between plates or bowls and serve.