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Smartly dressed salads.

Add a refreshing note to holiday meals with a showy winter salad--dressed for the season with colorful and delicious ingredients.

In the first two recipes, winter fruit makes the main statement. Serve sliced oranges and mixed greens with a jewel-toned cranberry vinaigrette. Or try red or yellow pear fans dressed with toasted nuts and raisins.

The third recipe, Seattle's version of Caesar salad, enhances the traditional ingredients with seafood, making an elegant first course or main dish. We give a choice of dressings, modified to address concerns about egg safety.

To accommodate your busy cooking schedule, you can get a head start by making salad dressings and rinsing and crisping greens in advance.

Orange and Onion Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette

1 1/4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries

1/3 cup sugar

4 large (2 lb. total) oranges

2 tablespoons salad oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

3 quarts (about 1 1/2 lb.) rinsed and crisped bite-size pieces butter lettuce, curly endive, or escarole (use butter and 1 or both of the other greens)

1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion rings

Salt and pepper

In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart pan, stir together the cranberries and sugar. Cover and cook on lowest heat, shaking pan occasionally, just until a few cranberries begin to burst, 8 to 15 minutes. Remove pan from heat.

Shred orange peel to make 1 teaspoon long, thin shreds. Ream 1 orange to make 3 tablespoons juice. Mix peel, juice, oil, and vinegar; gently stir into cranberries. If making ahead, cover and chill up to 2 days.

Cut peel and white membrane from remaining oranges. Thinly slice oranges crosswise. In a large salad bowl, combine orange slices, lettuce, and onion. Pour cranberry dressing over salad and mix. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serves 8.

Per serving: 126 cal.; 1.9 g protein; 3.8 g fat (0.5 g sat.); 23 g carbo.; 4.7 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Pear Fans with Raisin Dressing

3 medium-size (about 1/3 lb. each) firm-ripe red or yellow Comice pears

Raisin dressing (recipe follows)

Watercress sprigs, rinsed and crisped

Salt and pepper

Cut pears in half lengthwise and remove cores. Starting about 1/2 inch from stem end, make cuts 1/4 inch apart down length of pears.

Place each half, cut side down, on a salad plate and press gently to fan out slices. Brush cut surfaces with dressing. Drizzle remaining dressing over pears. Tuck watercress around pears. Add salt and pepper to taste. Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 187 cal.; 2 g protein; 13 g fat (1.6 g sat.); 21 g carbo.; 26 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Raisin dressing. Mix 3 tablespoons salad oil, 2 tablespoons sherry or cider vinegar, 4 teaspoons honey, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, and 1/2 teaspoon anise seed. If making ahead, cover and chill up to a day.

In a 6- to 8-inch frying pan, stir 1 tablespoon salad oil and 1/4 cup pine nuts or slivered almonds over medium-low heat until nuts begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup golden raisins and stir until nuts and raisins are lightly browned, about 2 minutes. If making ahead, cool and store airtight up to a day. Mix nut and anise mixtures. Makes 2/3 cups.

Seattle Seafood Caesar Salad

We give three variations on the original Caesar dressing, all safe from salmonella bacteria. The egg white dressing uses lemon juice to acidify the whites for at least 48 hours; this dressing tastes remarkably similar to the original. The other two options require less advance planning. One uses a hard-cooked egg to add body to the dressing, and the other omits the egg completely and uses sour cream as a base.

As an alternative to anchovies, consider a Southeast Asian condiment, fish sauce (nuoc mam or nam pla). It's made from anchovies, salt, and water and has a more delicate flavor. Look for it in some supermarkets and Asian grocery stores.

If you plan to use only the tender inner leaves of the romaine, buy the larger amount of lettuce.

2 to 4 small (1 3/4 to 2 lb. total) heads romaine lettuce

1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Croutons (recipe follows)

About 1 pound Seattle seafood (choices follow)

Caesar dressing (choices and recipes follow)

Freshly ground pepper

Rinse the lettuce well and drain. Wrap loosely in towels, enclose in plastic bags, then refrigerate until lettuce is crisp, at least 30 minutes or as long as a day.

Use whole tender inner leaves to make about 3 quarts greens (reserve coarse outer leaves for another salad, or discard). Or tear enough leaves into bite-size pieces or cut crosswise into thin shreds to make about 2 1/2 quarts greens.

Place lettuce in a large bowl. Arrange cheese, croutons, seafood, and dressing in separate containers. Bring to the table and pour dressing over lettuce; mix gently to coat greens.

Add the cheese, croutons, seafood, and pepper to taste; mix gently and serve. Makes 4 or 5 main-dish, 6 or 7 first-course servings.

Per first-course serving with 2 ounces shrimp and no dressing: 142 cal.; 16 g protein; 5 g fat (1.3 g sat.); 7.9 g carbo.; 258 mg sodium; 114 mg chol.

Croutons. Mix 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 small clove garlic, pressed or minced. Cut about 2 1/2 ounces French bread into 3/4-inch cubes to make about 2 cups. Stir garlic-oil mixture with bread to coat.

In a 10- by 15-inch rimmed pan, spread out bread cubes. Bake in a 325|degrees~ oven until cubes are crisp and golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. If making ahead, cool, wrap airtight, and store up to a day.

Seattle seafood choices. Offer 1 to 4 of the following seafoods: tiny cooked shelled shrimp; cooked shelled crab; smoked salmon, sturgeon, or trout, cut into thin slivers; cooked bay scallops (recipe follows); or fried oysters (recipe follows).

Cooked bay scallops. Rinse and drain 1/2 to 1 pound bay scallops. In a 3- to 4-quart pan, bring about 2 quarts water to a boil. Stir in scallops. Tightly cover pan and remove from heat. Let stand until scallops are opaque in thickest part (cut to test), 3 to 4 minutes. Drain. Cool, cover, and chill until cold, at least 1 hour or up to a day.

Per 2 ounces: 50 cal.; 9.5 g protein; 0.4 g fat (0.1 g sat.); 1.3 g carbo.; 91 mg sodium; 19 mg chol.

Fried oysters. Mix 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, 3 tablespoons yellow cornmeal, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Beat 1 large egg to blend. Drain 1 jar (10 oz.) shucked fresh small Pacific oysters, cut in halves. Coat in egg, then in flour mixture; set aside in a single layer.

Pour about 1/2 inch salad oil into a deep 10- to 12-inch frying pan. Place over high heat. When oil reaches 350|degrees~ on a thermometer, place oysters slightly apart in pan. Cook, turning once, until golden and crisp, about 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spatula; drain on towels. Add salt to taste. Serve hot.

Per 2 ounces: 206 cal.; 7.9 g protein; 13 g fat (2 g sat.); 13 g carbo.; 73 mg sodium; 74 mg chol.

Egg white Caesar dressing. Mix 2 large egg whites and 1/4 cup lemon juice. Cover and chill at least 48 hours or up to 4 days.

Whisk egg white mixture to blend with 1/4 cup olive oil; 3 to 4 canned anchovy fillets, drained and chopped, or 2 to 3 tablespoons fish sauce (nuoc mam or nam pla); and 1 to 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced. If making ahead, cover and chill up to 1 hour. Makes 2/3 cup.

Per tablespoon: 63 cal.; 1.6 g protein; 5.9 g fat (0.8 g sat.); 1.1 g carbo.; 56 mg sodium; 0.7 mg chol.

Cooked-egg Caesar dressing. In a blender or food processor, smoothly puree 6 tablespoons olive oil; 1 large hard-cooked egg, shelled and cut into chunks; 4 to 6 drained and chopped canned anchovy fillets or 2 to 3 tablespoons fish sauce (nuoc mam or nam pla); 1/4 cup lemon juice; and 1 to 2 cloves garlic.

If making ahead of time, cover and refrigerate up to a day. Makes about 3/4 cup.

Per tablespoon: 77 cal.; 1.3 g protein; 7.6 g fat (1.1 g sat.); 0.9 g carbo.; 55 mg sodium; 18 mg chol.

No-egg Caesar dressing. In a blender or food processor, puree 2/3 cup light or regular sour cream, 4 to 6 drained canned anchovy fillets or 2 to 3 tablespoons fish sauce (nuoc mam or nam pla), 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and 1 to 2 cloves garlic.

If making ahead, cover and refrigerate up to a day. Mix well before serving. Makes 3/4 cup.

Per tablespoon: 32 cal.; l.7 g protein; 2.2 g fat (1 g sat.); 1.6 g carbo.; 50 mg sodium; 5.2 mg chol.
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Title Annotation:Special Issue: Best of the Holidays; recipes
Date:Jan 1, 1992
Previous Article:Appetizers for a walk-around party.
Next Article:Showpiece roasts ... beef, lamb, and pork.

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