Orange Vinaigrette and Copy Cat Herb Box Salad

I might look forward to wintertime citrus almost as much as I look forward to fresh berries in the spring and summer.  We aren’t just talking about orange juice you can buy any ole time, either.  We’re talking about big, juicy oranges and grapefruits, among others, that you peel and eat or hand squeeze for the perfectly sweet juice they hold.  I got away from drinking a gallon of juice for breakfast several years ago in an effort to cut down on the amount of sugar I  was consuming on a daily basis, so these days when I use any kind of juice, it’s usually for marinating, cooking or making homemade salad dressings.

Orange Vinaigrette and Copy Cat Herb Box Salad

This orange vinaigrette is one of my favorites.  Especially when drizzled over the salad it’s pictured with.  This is a copy cat salad from a restaurant I used to frequent in Scottsdale, AZ called The Herb Box.  Everything on their menu was absolutely to die for, including this salad.  The only difference between mine and theirs, is they served it with blackened chicken, crumbled bacon, balsamic vinaigrette and their lettuce is a little more specific.  I use whatever looks good at the store, which could be anything from romaine or spinach to arugula or the ready to go mixed greens.  Also, since I don’t eat land animals, I skipped over the chicken and bacon.  I’m seriously considering being a vegetarian plus bacon.  I’ve been missing me some bacon here lately and I’d be lying if I told you any different.  When you live in the South, it’s almost a sin NOT to eat a plate of barbeque or at least a side of bacon every once in a while.  Anyway, if you make this salad, you might want to add bacon.  Because, lets face it, bacon makes everything better.

The reason I like the orange vinaigrette a little more on this salad than a balsamic, is because it has dried strawberries, blueberries and cranberries on it.  I know, what salad could possibly be bad with dried fruit on it, I ask you?!  It’s basically topping a salad with candy!  There’s just something about the orange dressing that goes so well with the dried berries.  Plus, there’s goat cheese on it, so….that pretty much catapults it into knock your socks off delicious land.

Even though I suggest this dressing for this particular salad, use it over any salad you want.  I also wouldn’t hesitate pouring it over salmon (or mild white fish) and baking it.

Orange Vinaigrette and Copy Cat Herb Box Salad

Makes about 1 cup

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice, about 3 large oranges
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of finely minced shallot
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of honey (use local if you can).  If you prefer the dressing to be a bit sweeter, you may want to use 2 tablespoons of honey.
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp of dijon mustard
  • about 1/3 cup of good olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instruction

Squeeze the oranges until you get about 1 cup of juice.  In a small saucepan, boil the orange juice until it reduces to half.  Add in the minced shallots to the orange juice and allow them to cook for about five minutes.  Remove the juice from the heat and allow it to cool.

Pour the cooled juice into a blender along with the honey, chopped parsley, dijon and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Cover and blend for about 30 seconds.  While the blender is still on, remove the hole in the top and slowly pour in the olive oil.  Blend until the olive oil and juice are combined.

The dressing will keep in an airtight container for about a week.