The very first time I tried this salad in Toronto what seems a lifetime ago, I couldn't get enough of it. It was so good I had to restrain myself from licking the plate! I've altered the salad slightly over the years by reducing the amount of olive oil the original recipe called for as well as swapping out the canned mandarin orange slices in heavy syrup for fresh ones.
This week the last of the Cutie California Mandarins were on sale at the supermarket. I grabbed a huge carton and some of them found their way into this delicious salad.
1 head buttercrunch lettuce, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
6 mandarin oranges
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
3 tbsp crushed candied pecans
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp dried mustard powder
salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1 small avocado
Place the torn lettuce into a large bowl bowl.
Peel 4 mandarins and separate the segments. It's really not necessary to try to remove the membranes as the segments are quite small and it would probably be a pain to do so.
Add the mandarin segments, red onion and pecans to the salad bowl.
Juice the remaining two mandarins and combine the juice with the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, honey and mustard powder in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Cut the avocado in half and remove the pit. Scoop each half out of the peel and dice. Drop the avocado pieces into the dressing. The juice and vinegar will prevent the avocado from discolouring.
When you are ready to serve the salad, empty the avocado pieces and dressing over the salad mixture in the large bowl and toss until everything is evenly combined.