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Arizona citrus

Two of the three instructors who taught cooking classes at Les Gourmettes Cooking School this April have made refreshing and colorful citrus salads. And why not? We all love to use local ingredients and Arizona offers some of the best citruses around.

Another coincidence was that both of the chefs used a variety of orange called Cara Cara. I don’t recall this variety ever being used at the school before and then suddenly two consecutive teachers use them. Amazingly, they are even available at Costco.

The Cara Cara orange is an all-natural hybrid orange, the result of the cross-pollination of a Washington Navel Orange and a Brazilian Bahia Navel Orange.

They were discovered in 1976 in Venezuela at the Hacienda da Cara Cara. The oranges found their way into very limited US markets in the 1980s.

The next citrus tree I plant is going to be a Cara Cara! I love the sweetness of the fruit and the gorgeous reddish-pink color of the flesh. The photo above shows the blood orange, the Cara Cara and the navel next to each other. Beautiful!

I enjoyed and was inspired so much by the cooking class salads that I decided to pick up a bag of Cara Cara oranges at Costco and use my backyard bounty of lemons, grapefruit, blood and navel oranges for my dad’s birthday dinner.

Colorful Citrus Salad with Lemon-Honey Vinaigrette


  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 small shallot, peeled and minced
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup olive oil


  • 2 pink grapefruit
  • 2 navel oranges
  • 2 Cara Cara oranges
  • 2 blood oranges
  • 1 ½ cups baby greens
  • 6 dates, pitted and sliced into slivers
  • 1 small jicama, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 1/3 cup radish sprouts/shoots

Vinaigrette: Whisk the lemon zest and juice, shallot, honey, salt, and pepper together in a small bowl. Slowing whisk in the olive oil until well combined, and set aside.

Salad: Cut the top and bottom of the grapefruit. Place cut side down on a cutting board. Use a sharp paring knife to cut off the peel and the white pith, going with the curvature of the fruit. Continue around the entire fruit. Cut the grapefruit into ¼-inch slices and remove all seeds. Repeat this procedure with the three varieties of oranges.

Place a small mound of baby greens on a salad plate and place 1 or 2 slices of each citrus variety on the plate. Repeat to make 5 more salads. Sprinkle each salad with the silvered dates, the jicama matchsticks, and the radish sprouts. Whisk and taste the vinaigrette, adjust seasoning, if needed, and drizzle over each salad.

Serves 6





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1 comment

1 Marissa { 04.26.17 at 11:32 AM }


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