My excitement when blood oranges appear in the markets is unfettered. It’s the fabulous fiery colour that does it for me (just look at these pics) but I’m also very keen on their tartness compared to other orange varieties and their ever-so-subtle hint of spice. They come into season in late winter and the first sight of them in the markets harbingers the fresh flavours of spring. Cocktails, puddings, marmalades, sorbets and fruit salads are all enhanced by their appearance. I simply love them in this salad. The colours alone will make you want to dive into it. The combination of sweet, sour and peppery flavours is divine. It’s quick to assemble, it’s easy and it looks fantastic.
(See also the Blood Orange and Feta salad)
INGREDIENTS – (serves 8 as a side dish)
4 red beetroots – remove the leaves
4 blood oranges
2 oranges – Navel are good.
1 fennel bulb
1 red onion
Juice of 2 lemons
Juice and rind of 2 limes
Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
2 handfuls of fresh coriander – chopped
Boil the beets. These can take longer than you think so consider prepping them from the day before. Be gentle with them when you wash them and don’t over-trim or pierce their skins as the colour will bleed.
Some people wrap them in foil and bake them – this can take 2 – 3 hours. I prefer to boil them for about 30 minutes then carefully remove their skins.
Slice them into fairly thin rounds.
Peel and slice all the oranges, also into rounds.
Thinly slice the fennel bulb and the red onion using a mandolin.
Now layer the blood orange slices, the orange slices, the beets, fennel and red onion onto your serving platter.
Mix the lemon juice, the lime juice and the rind from the limes and add the salt and pepper.
Pour this over the salad.
Finish with the fresh coriander sprinkled on top.
NB If, like one of my friends, you are allergic to coriander or (heaven forbid) you don’t like the taste of it, try using chervil instead or some parsley. There’s something about the coriander though, that just makes it!
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