Ambrosia Salad

Late Winter Light
This Old Southern Tradition dates back to the mid-eighteen hundreds and was a lovely, late winter tradition.  Today it is merely considered a Thanksgiving and Christmas staple, and that is a shame, as this lovely, delicately floral salad lifts our winter citrus to a delicacy.
The Purist
While there are many, many variations, the traditional Ambrosia Salad consists of nothing but well-selected oranges and finely shredded, unsweetened coconut. This light, simple salad may be served as a side dish or dessert.
I use Navel and Valencia oranges to produce the most desirable combination of firmness, sweetness, juiciness, and bright orange flavor. The Navel orange has a sweet, floral flavor and the texture provides the firm integrity of the salad. The Valencia orange has the intense, sweet juiciness that lends a depth to the salad.
Choose the best, most delicately shredded unsweetened coconut you can find. Using a very fine shred will ensure a very tender texture, which absorbs the orange juices beautifully.
Consider a traditional presentation, and serve in several compote dishes. Sterling, cut glass or crystal, and milk glass showcase this pretty salad to its best advantage. This is a lovely, jewel like addition to the warmer-hued winter dishes. Serve the Ambrosia at just-cooler-than room temperature.

Old Southern Garden
Ambrosia Salad
9 Large Navel Oranges, Supremed
3 Large Valencia Oranges, Supremed
12 oz Finely Shredded Unsweetened Coconut
Supreme the oranges by carefully removing the skin, pith, and seeds from the membranes ensuring that the membranes remain intact. Transfer the supremed oranges to a mixing bowl. Add coconut to the oranges and mix carefully. Shortly before serving, transfer Ambrosia to compote dishes. Serves 10 to 12 guests.