Spring Baby Spinach Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

Spring Baby Spinach Salad being drizzled with Orange Vinaigrette served with a Parmesan Crisp

Spring Baby Spinach Salad being drizzled with Orange Vinaigrette served with a Parmesan Crisp

Spring's bounty sings in this refreshing salad.  Baby spinach, red onion, radishes, cucumbers, avocado, crisp bacon and supremed orange sections are tasty enough, but the addition of the Orange Vinaigrette amplifies all of those flavors.  An awesome substitute for pork bacon (which some don't enjoy) is duck bacon, which is pictured.  A crispy Cheese Straw or Parmesan Crisp is the perfect, salty accompaniment. Serves 4

For the Vinaigrette:

1/4 cup freshly-squeezed orange juice

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 Tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground white pepper

1 cup grape seed oil, or other neutral oil

Whisk together the first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl until very well combined.  Slowly whisk in the oil until the mixture thickens a bit.  Alternately, blend the first 6 ingredients in a blender, then drizzle in the oil with the blender on low until well-combined. 

For the salad:

8 cups baby spinach leaves, preferably organic

1 cup paper-thin slices of red onion

1 medium English cucumber, quartered, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 medium avocado, cut into 3/4" pieces

4 medium radishes, slices very thinly

2 Navel oranges, peel removed, sections "supremed" *See note

4 slices crisp, cooked bacon

Cheese Straws or Parmesan Crisps

Place the spinach in a large serving bowl, or into 4 individual salad bowls.  Layer the remaining ingredients over the spinach in the order listed.  Serve with the Orange Vinaigrette on the side.

*To supreme an orange:  Using a very sharp knife, cut off the top and bottom of the orange to make flat surfaces.  Place the orange on its bottom and slice away the peel and pith, from top to bottom, working all the way around the orange until no peel remains.  Trim away any little pieces of pith from the orange.  Working over a bowl, use the knife to cut between the membrane and the flesh of each orange section on both sides of the segment.  The result will be orange sections with no membrane, just the flesh.  Continue until all of the segments have been cut away from the membrane, allowing the juice to run into the bowl.  (Squeeze the peel sections over the bowl to capture any juice they hold!)  Use the juice collected in the vinaigrette recipe.

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