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A Winter Citrus Snacking Salad

Image of Winter Citrus Snacking Salad

This month’s featured dish, using some of Melissa’s fresh products, literally comes from the refrigerator of Sabrina Ortiz, a member of Melissa’s Marketing Team. Meaning, Sabrina likes to keep a big bowl of this recipe in her ‘frig to snack on between meals.

“Citrus is my all-time FAVORITE type of fruit and I’m a grazer,” Sabrina explained. “So, I like to prepare a bowl of all the seasonal citrus varieties to have readily available for snacking throughout the day. Besides being nutritious, it satisfies all the flavor points it takes to be a good snack food. That is—tart grapefruits, sweet tangerines, a refreshing flavor base of two types of oranges—all laced with the pleasantly spicy heat of Hatch Powder and a lemony vinaigrette dressing. Though the mix of citrus varieties must flex with seasonal availability, in February, retail produce displays are overflowing with citrus of all kinds. However, my preference is the combination that the blend in this recipe offers.”

What a great idea! A chilled bowl of succulent citrus pieces improves in flavor as it steeps in its own juices and a tasty dressing nutritiously satisfies those mid-afternoon hunger cravings. It is quite normal for one’s appetite to increase in the afternoon when blood sugar levels drop as more time passes after lunchtime. A decrease in blood sugar levels can increase appetite – the body’s knee-jerk signal indicating its tank needs to be refueled. So snacking is perfectly normal; having a bowl of Sabrina’s recipe on standby will eliminate the temptation to squelch a grumbling tummy with junk food that will not help the body make it through the rest of the day and may even slow down one’s metabolism.

The flexibility of Sabrina’s recipe came to pass while I attempted to gather ingredients. Originally the recipe called for kumquats, which were still a few weeks from harvest when this feature was written. Too bad because the edible peel of this tiny fruit would add another texture and taste to the mix. Include them if available. I chose to sub in with blood orange – certainly, no downgrade as bloods have the most full-bodied, richly orange flavor on the planet. Plus, the variety’s stunning deep red fruit added a bold color to the bowl. I followed Sabrina’s approach to this dish, grazing on it for three increasingly delicious days! The flavor deepened with each serving, plus the visual impact of opening the ‘frig to this bowl of bright and beautifully cacophony of natural colors always evoked a smile that elevated my mood even on a gloomy cold winter day. Good for the mind as well as the body, try it!

Image of Sabrina Ortiz

Sabrina Ortiz has been a member of Melissa’s Marketing Design Team for three years. Her focus is on the visual aspect of marketing our products on the many media platforms that the company uses to promote its label.

“My role here at Melissa’s has a lot to do with the visual communication of our brand, specializing in design,” described Sabrina. “My day-to-day involves anything and everything from designing packaging for our products to creating social media content, developing product campaigns for our sales team, as well as the signage for trade shows and other promotional events. The fun, as well as challenging, thing about my job here is that every day brings on something different. The extremely fast pace of the perishable produce industry keeps me on my toes and makes every day more interesting than the last. There is never a minute of my workday when I am not engaged in one project or another. Very fun and rewarding!”

This is Sabrina’s second recipe submission to this blog; see Guest Chef – March ‘20, and a lot has changed since then. Starting with the purchase of her own home last February, which has generated an endless list of home improvement projects that take up most of her time away from the office, and she is not complaining. Feline roomies Georgie and Jerry still rule no matter the change of accommodations. When not playing This Old House, Sabrina says that she has been exploring both the world of baked breakfast desserts as well as the best running routes in her new neighborhood. No doubt the latter to offset the former! For balance and to “clear my head from screen time,” she keeps up a daily sketchbook as the need to create does not stop with office hours. And to celebrate their one-year anniversary in the new place, Sabrina and her partner, Chris, are expecting a baby boy sometime this month! Who’s going to tell Georgie and Jerry?

Strictly Citrus Salad
Yield: 4 servings
Image of tropical fruit

1 large navel orange, peeled & sliced into thin rounds
3 Ojai pixie tangerines, peeled sliced
1 large pummelo, peeled & sliced
1 large pink grapefruit, peeled & sliced
4 blood oranges, peeled & sliced

1 tablespoon agave
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Melissa’s Lemon Juice bulb
Salt to taste
Melissa’s Hatch Chile Powder, mild or hot, sprinkle to taste [topping]

image of sliced citrus

Peel and slice all the citrus components before making the dressing.

image of dressing

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together all the dressing’s ingredients until thoroughly infused, then add a touch of salt to taste.

Image of fruit in a bowl

Place all the citrus wheels in a large mixing bowl and toss with the dressing until evenly coated.

Image of citrus salad
Serve each portion on a salad plate, with a light sprinkle of either mild or hot Melissa’s Hatch Chile Powder to taste. Enjoy!

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