Tangerine, butter lettuce and goat cheese salad

Time 30 minutes
Yields Serves 4
Tangerine, butter lettuce and goat cheese salad
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
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Tangerines -- perfectly balanced between tart and sweet— harmonize perfectly with the butter lettuce, fresh goat cheese and hazelnuts in this salad, dressed with a vinaigrette made with hazelnut oil and Champagne vinegar. (Hint: When making a vinaigrette with hazelnut oil, cut it with an equal amount of canola or another neutral oil -- it’s just too rich on its own.)


Toast the hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet in a 400-degree oven until they smell toasty, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately cover with a damp kitchen towel. Let stand 10 minutes, then wrap the hazelnuts in the towel and rub to remove as much of the papery skin as possible. Chop coarsely; you should have about one-fourth cup


Meanwhile, combine the vinegar, one-half teaspoon salt and shallots in a small bowl and let stand 10 minutes to let the shallots soften. Whisk in the hazelnut and vegetable oil.


Combine the hazelnuts and butter lettuce in a large bowl. Pour over just enough of the dressing to moisten lightly, tossing gently. Season to taste with more salt if necessary. Arrange the lettuce on a platter in a low mound.


Add the tangerines to the same work bowl and toss to coat lightly with any vinaigrette remaining in the bowl. Scatter the tangerines over the top of the lettuce. Scatter the crumbled goat cheese over the top and serve immediately.