I really can't say enough about this salad ~ The combination of the thinly sliced fennel, creamy avocado, sweet mandarin oranges and butter lettuce make for a storybook marriage of flavors. The orange muscat shallot vinaigrette is light and adds the perfect notes of bright citrus to the celebration.
This is one of those few salads that makes me want to ask for seconds and simply skip the main course.
Butter Lettuce Salad with Fennel, Mandarin Oranges, Avocado and an Orange Muscat Shallot Vinaigrette
For the vinaigrette
- (Can be prepared up to 5 days in advance)
- 1/2 cup Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar (Trader Joe's. Or you can substitute regular champagne vinegar and add 1 Tablespoon orange juice).
- 1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Shallot, minced
- pinch of Cayenne Pepper
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt (or 1/2 teaspoon table salt)
For the salad
- 7-8 ounces fresh butter lettuce, chopped
- 2 ripe avocados, peeled, seeded, and chopped into bite-sized cubes
- 6 fresh mandarin oranges, supremed (this YouTube video shows you how)
- 1 fresh fennel bulb, bottom and half removed, "leaves" thinly sliced across the grain (reserve dark green tops for garnish)
- Prepare the vinaigrette by placing all of the ingredients in a mason jar. Tighten lid, then shake vigorously to create an emulsion (1-2 minutes). Refrigerate until ready to use.
- In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, avocado, orange segments, and sliced fennel. Give vinaigrette a shake. Add to the salad to your taste (I used about 3/4 of the vinaigrette and saved the rest for lunch a few days later. It is also excellent over fish). Garnish with chopped fennel fronds.