I am slightly embarrassed to admit from where and how I acquired this recipe. But I'll tell you.
It is from Oprah Winfrey.
Well. To be more exact, it is from an article in "O, the Oprah Magazine" about Jennifer Aniston's two chefs.
Not that there is anything wrong with Oprah! I am just not an Oprah girl.
OK. To be 100% truthful, I clicked on a link off of a gossip website that was discussing making fun of the article about, as this blogger calls it, Jennifer Aniston's 40 and Fabulous! Campaign to what she calls "The Mini Van Majority" (click here http://annehelenpetersen.wordpress.com/2009/06/11/the-minivan-majority/if you want a full analysis of the minivan majority).
In the article in O Magazine, Jenn states that "the best restaurant in town is at her house" because "what occurs here feels closer in spirit to those spontaneous gatherings that used to crop up in that dorm room everybody was magnetically drawn to in college".
Pretty nice dorm room.
The house is called "comfortable" and "warm" with a "kitchen sanctuary". Jenn is often able to throw these often spontaneous dinner parties because she employs two chefs, who are also sisters, who rotate shifts every other day, unless there is a bigger party, which then they will both work. And, also, because she has bajillions of dollars.
I mean, I totally understand what it's like to have a personal chef. I have a personal chef myself. It's called ME. And I don't have bajillions of dollars, although I food shop like I do.
But the best part of the whole article experience is when, in the words (and usage of caps) by blogger Elaine Lui, "one of the chef's start CRYING OUT OF GRATITUDE in the end."
It really is quite funny. But I've got to admit, the recipes were actually all quite good. Really good. I had my own dinner party with my parents, grandmother, and cousins at my new place and prepared these meals. I was nervous, trying out new things for the first time for a bunch of people, no less healthy recipes which can be very hit or miss. But these were a huge hit. And this salad started it all off. Delicious bibb lettuce was tossed very lightly in a flavorful orange vinaigrette and topped with crunchy pumpkin seeds, creamy avocado, and bright oranges. I recommend this fully.
Unfortunately, no one cried out of gratitude when eating it. Ah, well.
Recipe adapted from O Magazine
1/4 cup pepitas (Mexican pumpkin seeds); available at most grocery stores or
2 1/2 oranges , preferably Cara Cara
1/2 shallot , minced
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
2 Tbsp. chopped dill or chives (optional)
3 cups chopped Bibb lettuce
3 cups chopped red-leaf lettuce
1 avocado , pitted and thinly sliced
4 ounces ricotta salata, crumbled
Note: Cara Cara oranges are a type of navel orange with reddish flesh; if your local market doesn't have them, use regular oranges instead.
Preheat oven to 350°. Spread pepitas in a single layer on a baking sheet, and toast in oven until crisp, about 8 minutes. (Alternatively, toast them in a dry skillet over medium heat until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep them from burning.) Let cool in pan.
Meanwhile, cut peel and pith from 2 oranges; slice thinly and set aside. Juice remaining 1/2 orange. Make a vinaigrette by whisking together orange juice, shallot, mustard, salt, grapeseed oil, and dill or chives (if using) in a medium bowl.
To assemble salad: Mix bibb and red leaf; toss lightly with most of vinaigrette. Add oranges and avocado slices; sprinkle pepitas and cheese on top. Serve with remaining vinaigrette on the side.