I don't know what screams winter more than bright, juicy citrus fruit and what shouts spring more than a sweet, tart poppy seed dressing. When tossed together they become the quintessential March salad and a perfect weekday lunch!
Poppy seeds in condiments, casseroles, and baked goods are huge in the South, but it wasn't until I received a bottle of homemade poppy seed dressing as a hostess gift recently that I was hooked on them in salads.
Most old-school recipes call for mayonnaise, but Greek yogurt keeps mine on the lighter side, and "fruit-on-the-bottom" strawberry adds another unique twist. (In the summer I may throw in some pureed ripe berries, instead!) This dressing is thick and creamy enough to use as a dip, but thinned with a little milk, it's versatile enough to pour over your favorite salad ingredients. I also mix it with fresh fruit — bananas, blueberries, strawberries, and pineapples — for a delicious breakfast side. But really the sky is the limit, because it is just that good.
Late-Winter Salad with Strawberry Poppy Seed Dressing
For the dressing:
1 cup strawberry yogurt, Greek or regular
1 tablespoon mayonnaise (or sour cream)
2 teaspoons champagne vinegar
1/2 scant teaspoon ground mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds
Kosher salt, to taste
Milk, to thin as necessary
For the salad:
2-3 citrus fruits (tangelos, blood oranges, cara cara), cut into supremes
1 ripe avocado, sliced
Poppy seeds, for garnish
Thinly sliced shallots, optional
Toasted pecans, optional
Grilled chicken or fish, optional
In a medium bowl or glass measuring cup, whisk the yogurt, mayonnaise, champagne vinegar, mustard powder, sugar, and poppy seeds to combine. Season with kosher salt to taste. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Stir in milk to thin to desired consistency and adjust seasoning to taste.
Arrange lettuce, citrus, avocados, and additional toppings in a shallow serving bowl. Pour dressing over the top and garnish with additional poppy seeds.
(Images: Nealey Dozier)