Mmmm… Mandarins

Add a new flavour, as well as some colour, to your salads

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Buy some more mandarins, my kids have said to me lately, even when there are some still sitting in the fruit basket on the kitchen bench.

We’ve OD-ed on them this season – and why not, they’ve been particularly good this time round.

I bought a boxful not so long ago from a door-knocking farmer who said he had driven in from the country to sell direct. My neighbours and I wondered if he was fair dinkum, but we all enjoyed his mandarins immensely.

In my family, we’ve used them as an any-time snack:  in our lunch packs, on the drive back home from uni/work, and as an after-dinner TV-time munchy. But for the first time, I’ve tried them in salads.

Essentially, you pick some salad greens, nuts of your choice, maybe one other ingredient, and dress to your taste. Try different greens and different nuts (which you can candy or keep plain).

Mandarins are loaded with vitamin C and offer dietary fibre, too. Plus they provide substantial amounts of vitamin A and folic acid (a B-complex vitamin).

To buy, look for mandarins that have shiny skin and feel heavy when handled.

Mandarin Salad with Avocado
Mandarin Recipes.Indian Link

Ingredients
Salad greens of your choice
4 small mandarins
1 avocado
1 cup chickpeas (use canned variety or prepare them at home by soaking and boiling till tender)
½ cup crushed walnuts (optional)
2-3 tbsp orange juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Chilli flakes or roasted cumin seeds (or both) to taste.

Method
Cut avocado in half, discard stone and scoop flesh into a deep bowl. Chop up roughly, and mash a few pieces, leaving others intact.
Peel and segment mandarins.
Add salad greens in now. Tale care to add a few leaves at a time and mix well each time, so that all leaves are coated with avocado.
Then introduce the chickpeas, mandarin segments and nuts. Season with salt and pepper, chilli flakes and roasted cumin powder and then pour orange juice over for some moisture. Toss gently to combine.

 

Mandarin and Fennel Salad
Mandarin Recipes.Indian Link
Ingredients
6 small mandarins
1 fennel bulb
A good squeeze lemon juice
1 ½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ tbsp white balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
1/3 cup fresh continental parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Method
Trim fennel and cut into thin strips. Add some lemon juice to a bowl of ice-cold water and immerse fennel strips briefly.
Peel mandarins and segment; remove white pith, membrane and seeds.
Whisk the oil and vinegar in a small bowl until well combined.
Drain fennel and place in a serving dish. Add the mandarin and herbs. Pour dressing over. Season with salt and pepper and then toss gently to combine.

 

Mandarin and Spinach Salad
Mandarin Recipes.Indian Link
Ingredients
6 small mandarins
1 packet baby spinach
½ small Spanish onion
½ cup walnut pieces
Shaved parmesan, as much or as little as you like

For dressing:
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp honey
Juice and zest of one orange
Salt and pepper to taste

Method
Peel and segment mandarins. Cut onions into very thin slices. Toast walnut in a moderate oven lightly until aromatic. Wash spinach leaves and remove long stalks if any.
Place leaves in a deep bowl and throw in mandarin segments, walnuts, onion and parmesan cheese. Toss gently.
Prepare dressing by shaking ingredients together in a small jar. Pour over salad and toss again to coat. Serve decorated with more shaved parmesan.

 

Mandarin and Chicken Salad
Mandarin Recipes.Indian Link
Ingredients
500g chicken breast fillets
6 small mandarins
1 red capsicum
Handful snow pea sprouts
½ cup coriander leaves
3 green onions
5cm piece ginger
Juice of one lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp peanut oil
1/2 cup salted roasted cashew nuts, chopped

Method
Poach chicken in large frying pan, covered with enough water. When cooked (say ten minutes after boiling), remove from heat and cool.
Meanwhile, peel and segment mandarins. Seed and thinly slice capsicum. Cut snowpeas in half. Trim green onions and finely chop. Peel ginger and cut into matchsticks.
When chicken is cool, shred finely.
Combine the chicken, mandarin, capsicum, sprouts, coriander, onions and ginger in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Toss gently.
Prepare dressing by mixing lemon juice and oil in a jug. Drizzle over salad. Decorate with cashews.