Also known as Fruit for Salad. Also known as The Best Salad in the World Because it Doesn’t Have Anything Green in it!

Also known as the blood orange.

I brought home four of them from our local organic greengrocer and peeled one for breakfast thing morning while Booboo screeched happily at his little avocado nubs.

I took one bite and almost had to sit down. It was shocking. It tasted like the love child of the world’s sweetest blackberry and the Platonic ideal of a juicy orange. Miércoles!

As a teenager, I tricked my parents into sending me to Florence for “extra credits.” One morning there, a glass of the weirdest-looking orange juice was served to me and I wouldn’t even touch it. Thinking back, I realize now: it was effing blood orange. Was I out of my mind? You just don’t get the juice back.

I knew today that I had to do something special with the three blood oranges remaining, so I called my dear cousin ceelunes and asked her to remind me how to make the amazingly simple blood-orange salad her Sicilian husband prepared for us up north a dozen summers or more ago. It was unforgettable.

Turns out it has only two ingredients plus salt, pepper and olive oil. I couldn’t stand it. And so, our contorno was born.

I peeled the oranges and sliced them into little stars:

Then I sliced purple onion as thin as I possibly could – shave it, if you can. (Wayne’s the better onion shaver; he’s the one with the mad knife skills. But he was busy covering the baby’s face in yogourt.)

I let the onion marinate in a small bowl with a teaspoon or two of olive oil, salt and pepper. (ceelunes says you barely even need salt, but I couldn’t resist, as a counterpoint to the sweet.)

When the rest of supper was ready (don’t ask what it was, my friends – it was practically embarrassing compared to this salad), I topped the oranges with the onions and that’s it:

The photograph seems someone inelegant compared to the effect this produced when we ate it. It really was the best thing to come out of my kitchen yet in the Year of the Tiger.

ceelunes, if you’re out there reading, can you tell me: Does it look like I overdid the onion? The flavour balance really worked, but I’d love to hear your refinements.


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