Blood oranges finally arrived at our Farmer’s Market a few weeks ago. I am drawn to their color (each orange is a little bit different in shade), flavor and how they brighten any dish they’re in, whether it’s savory, sweet or in-between.
I bought a handful, and got right to work; I made an easy but complex-tasting grapefruit-blood orange-ginger sauce. It cooked quickly on the stove, and once reduced, I spooned it over fresh, roasted salmon. The sauce was stunning — a vivid, rosy pink that brightened the tender roasted salmon flesh. Then, I baked Domenica Marchetti’s Ciambellone, a sweet and dense cake that calls for an Italian liqueur, Punch Abruzzese, that is a bit tough to find here in the U.S. I substituted rum for the liqueur and added blood orange zest to try to duplicate the citrusy component in the digestive. I suspect my improvisation fell well-short of Domenica’s, but I loved how the flavors of the cake have intensified as the days have gone by.
Today, I’m focused on in-between: a flavor-packed, colorful, and easy-to-assemble salad that puts winter citrus front-and-center.
Baby spinach is scattered lightly across the bottom of a serving plate. On top of it, peeled, ripe, juicy grapefruit and blood oranges, which have been sliced cross-wise, are arranged in one layer. Next up: a generous drizzle of one of my favorite olive oils. I used a peppery oil from Joelle, a California-based company that grows and produces olive oil and assorted products in the state. They sell a range of oils from mild to strong, and I picked up my bottle at our local Farmer’s Market.
Then, a handful of pomegranate seeds are sprinkled on top, followed by a crumble of goat cheese. I bought a thick slice of Bucherondin, which is creamy and tangy, during my weekly run to C’est Cheese. While the flavor gets sharper as it ages, the piece I brought home was “young,” so the flavor was on the mild side, and provided a nice counterpoint to the citrus.
A pinch of sea salt and freshly ground pepper across the top, and you’re done. It’s refreshing, pretty and a great jumping off point for improvising a bit. You can mix in different greens, such as arugula or a mild butter lettuce. Swap in different varieties of citrus, such as tangerines or clementines. Try different cheeses to make the dish more piquant — I have a Crater Lake Blue that I think might kick up the sharpness for my next salad. Toasted, sliced almonds or other types of nuts also would complement the citrus and greens.
Whatever you decide, this is the kind of salad that works as a main for lunch or a side at dinner.
- 3-4 handfuls of baby spinach leaves
- 1 pink grapefruit, peeled and sliced cross-wise in ¼-inch slices
- 5 blood oranges, peeled and sliced cross-wise in ¼-inch slides
- 2 teaspoons good olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons fresh pomegranate seeds
- 1-2 Tablespoons goat cheese, crumbled
- pinch of sea salt
- fresh pepper
- Spread the spinach leaves on a large dinner plate or small platter.
- Using a knife, cut the ends off of the grapefruit -- you will have two flat ends. Stand the fruit on one end, and using the knife, cut the skin off, taking the white pith and membrane with you. Then, turn the grapefruit over on its side and cut the fruit in ¼-inch slides.
- In the center of the plate, over the spinach, spread the grapefruit slices, overlapping a bit to form a small circle.
- Peel and cut the blood oranges into slices using the same method as with the grapefruit.
- Spread the orange slices on top of the spinach leaves, on the outside of the grapefruit; forming a larger ring around the plate.
- Drizzle the olive oil over the fruit.
- Sprinkle the pomegranate seeds over the salad.
- Spread the crumbled goat cheese over the salad.
- Sprinkle the salt and pepper over the salad.