I have a new variation: “Be wary of grocery shopping when it is pouring rain and you feel a cold coming on”.
Why? Because this is what happens – you end up with lots of lots of citrus and bright produce in your cart. Be prepared.
I don’t know if I was craving the Vitamin D or the vivid colors amidst such dreary weather; either way, I came home with a bag of blood oranges, a couple grapefruits, two pints of cherry tomatoes and some limes. They quickly joined the citrus party already going on at my house with tangerines, lemons and oranges holding court. Time to get my salad on.
I started with juicing one of the blood oranges and used that as the springboard for my vinaigrette. Just a splash of raspberry vinegar and olive oil (and tiniest addition of salt and pepper) and I was good to go.
Prepping the citrus was a joy. Each fruit had its own particular perfume and I loved watching the colors intermingling as they were added to the bowl; soon there was a riot of yellows, oranges, pinks and and both cherry and crimson reds. Any juices that dribbled out of the cut fruit onto the cutting board was tossed back into the bowl, and it in turn colored the wispy fennel.
All my salad needed was a bit of Israeli feta, some basil and arugula and boom, done.
I ended up eating it alongside some flatbread crackers with some white bean puree I had made just a couple days before and it was perfection. Each bite transported me to somewhere far away; if I closed my eyes, I could imagine sitting alfresco in a pasture outside a Sicilian citrus grove, the warmth of a late afternoon sun warming my shoulders and upturned cheeks. I am eating black cured olives, sipping red wine, and contemplating a nap.
But for now I am here in Portland, and that’s okay, too.
After I ate my lunch I realized that I made far too much salad, so I packed up the remaining and topped the packages with the same white bean flatbread. I then left these parcels on the porch of two different neighbors. Isn’t it fun to come home to an unexpected treat?
Below is just a blueprint; add whatever citrus calls out to you, but don’t skimp on the tomatoes– their acidity and snap of thin skin is the perfect balance for all that sweet citrusy biz going on.
- Juice of 1 blood orange
- 2 Tbs. raspberry or red wine vinegar
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 grapefruit
- 5 blood oranges
- 3 tangerines or satsumas
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 1 C. fennel bulb sliced thin (1/2 large or 1 small)
- 1 C. arugula
- 6 basil leaves, sliced thin or torn roughly
- Feta (optional)
- Make vinaigrette and set aside.
- Cut off both ends of blood oranges and grapefruit and then cut off all skin and pith.
- For blood oranges, cut into thin slices. Add to large bowl.
- For grapefruit, cut out fruit between pithy membranes -- you will end up with thin little fillets of fruit. Add to bowl.
- Peel tangerines and add segments to bowl.
- Cut all cherry tomatoes in half. Add to bowl.
- Add fennel, arugula, basil and feta. Add vinaigrette and two pinches of salt. Toss gently.
- Gorge yourself without interruption.