Living on the East Coast, there are very few times of the year that blood oranges appear in the stores. When they do, I use them as many ways as possible until there are no more to be found. One rarely encounters organic blood oranges here, but when and if you can, their flavor is even finer. They have a more tart juice than other oranges and make a colorful and splendid addition to salads. The juice can be added, for a nice color accent, to sauces for seafood or chicken instead of lemon. In this salad, the contrast of tart blood orange with vanilla-scented Asian pear is further highlighted with the saltiness of the cheese shards.
Place all dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Allow to sit and come to room temperature to develop flavor.
Arrange a bed of mixed greens in a salad bowl. Cut pear, orange and avocado into slender wedges. Top with shards of cheese, using a vegetable peeler. Re-whisk dressing and drizzle over top of salad. Bring to table and then toss.
Note: I shop for vinegars, mustards and other tasty flavor boosters like some women shop for shoes or jewelry. Special ingredients like these are pricey, but a few drops go such a long way and the rewards are worth the investment tenfold. I am always disappointed to be cooking in someone’s kitchen who is expecting a special meal, to find only French’s yellow mustard and a bottle of generic red wine vinegar on the shelf. These ingredients have their place, I admit. But when you are hoping to surprise and delight, the effort to have special ingredients on hand will serve you well and enhance your creative vision in the kitchen.