Cara what??… No worries, I get it. Let’s just say what looks like a typical orange from the outside, is a far cry from what you’ll find inside. This Cara Cara Orange Salad with red leaf lettuce showcases the particularly sweet taste of this unassuming fruit. Read on for an abridged Cara Cara Orange 101!
Cara Cara Orange Salad
You’ve probably walked right by them in the grocery store, as they are as unassuming as a typical orange, having the same bright rind as their navel cousins. Next time, pay attention to the labeled crate, and grab a bag (or two!). While they originally started as a cross between two navels in Venezuela decades ago, they’re now largely grown in California. All good! Here’s what sets them apart: 1) their flesh – a distinct, deep coral color; 2) their taste – less acidic and much sweeter with a subtle tang the navel can’t offer; 3) they’re seedless. Need I say more!?!
We take full advantage of these beauties by using them in the dressing, and as a key component of the salad. In the dressing, the sweet Cara Cara juice and honey court the tang of sherry vinegar and dijon mustard. Extra-virgin olive oil presides over the marriage.
In the salad, delicate red leaf lettuce is the perfect platform for the contrasting flavors and textures of the peeled slices of Cara Cara, red onion, golden raisins, and toasted pine nuts. Finish with freshly grated Parm and you have one refreshing salad to complement any meal. Or, top with our Caramelized Salmon for a delicious, healthy, elegant entrée!
This red leaf salad uses seedless Cara Cara oranges in the salad and in the vinaigrette. Cara Caras are sweeter and less acidic than navels.
- 2 Cara Cara oranges, juiced (about 1/3 cup)
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 3 Cara Cara oranges
- 1 head red leaf lettuce, coarsely chopped
- ½ red onion, thinly sliced
- ⅓ cup golden raisins
- ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
- Salt and pepper
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in evoo. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside. (Can be made ahead. Cover and refrigerate up to 1 week.)
With a sharp knife, cut off peel and pith from oranges. Slice oranges crosswise. In a large bowl, toss together lettuce, orange slices, red onion, raisins, and pine nuts. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle in enough dressing to coat, do not soak. Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Pass remaining dressing separately.
If you can't find Cara Cara oranges, you can use navel. You may want to add more honey to the dressing to balance the higher acidity.