It’s been a while since I’ve written about the wonderful recipes in Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken’s Cooking with Too Hot Tamales. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been using it; it’s one book I’d take with me to a desert island. This tangerine and watercress salad is one of the reasons why. Not only is it’s tasty salad – bright, tangy, and peppery – but it looks quite elegant in a bowl. The Dijon vinaigrette is probably one of the best dressings ever concocted; who would have ever guessed that mustard is a perfect foil for tangerines? That’s why Feniger and Milliken are the pros.

I’ve made a few adjustment to their recipe: the addition of garlic to the dressing, of romaine to the salad to add some bulk, of red cabbage for extra crunch, and subtracting half the red onion the original recipe calls for. Make this. Soon.

Tangerine and watercress salad
This is a happy salad - bright and tangy flavors with an excellent crunch.
Recipe type: salad
Serves: 4-6
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt, or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons cracked black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ medium red onion, thinly sliced and soaked in ice water for up to 2 hours, to crisp and mellow
  • 2 tangerines, peel and pith and seeds removed, separated into slices and diced
  • 1 bunch watercress, stems removed, washed and dried
  • 1 romaine lettuce heart, washed, dried, and torn into bite-sized pieces
  • ½ cup shredded red cabbage
  1. For the dressing:
  2. In a small bowl, add salt to the vinegar and stir until dissolved.
  3. Add black pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and mustard. Stir well.
  4. Add olive oil and set aside.
  5. Drain the onion and pat dry.
  6. Separate the rings.
  7. In a large salad bowl, combine romaine, watercress, cabbage, tangerine, and onion.
  8. Toss gently.
  9. Whisk dressing until combined, and drizzle over the salad. Be careful not to overdress.
  10. Toss again and serve.