The bounty of win­ter cit­rus of­fers a colour­ful plate, then add thinly sliced fen­nel, cel­ery and red onion

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - DAVID TANIS New York Times

It is a plea­sure to sit down to a meal that be­gins with some­thing bright and colour­ful.

The sheer phys­i­cal beauty of a dish, en­hanced by vi­brant pro­duce, may arouse the ap­petite be­fore the aroma and flavour can con­firm its ex­cel­lence.

Colour­ful fruits and veg­eta­bles are easy to come by in the sum­mer, when there are all man­ner of toma­toes, zuc­chini, mel­ons and berries in ev­ery hue. In win­ter, it is more dif­fi­cult. Pomegranate and per­sim­mon are op­tions to off­set the sea­son’s yel­low-fleshed sweet potato or squash and dull greens and browns.

The bounty of win­ter cit­rus of­fers the most colour­ful as­sort­ment. We have grape­fruit in white, pink and ruby red. There are sunny, bright navel or­anges and blood or­anges. Named for an in­te­rior that can range from streaky sun­set ver­mil­ion to deep scar­let or bur­gundy, blood or­anges have a red blush on the peel and a heady, al­most trop­i­cal flavour.

When life gives you lemons, make le­mon­ade, as they say. When it gives you a rain­bow of cit­rus, make a salad.

Fruit salad may sound like dessert, al­ways a good idea, or some­thing to ac­com­pany break­fast or brunch, but it can also veer savoury. Avo­cado and cit­rus — usu­ally grape­fruit or orange — is a clas­sic com­bi­na­tion.

Cit­rus may be the treated the same way as a sweet, ripe tomato, with its nat­u­ral affin­ity to salt and oil. Here, for in­stance, is a tra­di­tional Si­cil­ian ap­proach to a savoury orange salad.

An as­sort­ment of mul­ti­coloured or­anges can be quite beau­ti­ful, though for this salad it is fine to use just one kind, with blood orange as the clas­sic ex­am­ple.

Ar­range cit­rus slices on a large plat­ter. Add thinly sliced fen­nel, cel­ery and red onion for a tasty bit of crunch. Sur­round it with sturdy win­ter salad leaves, like es­ca­role, if you like, or choose sharp arugula or wa­ter­cress sprigs. It will still be great with no greens at all. Dress it as­sertively with fruity olive oil and tangy wine vine­gar, and scat­ter briny olives and flaky sea salt be­fore serv­ing.

A har­mo­nious com­bi­na­tion of sweet and salty is what you’re go­ing for. To take it up a notch, add some chopped an­chovy or ca­pers and a pinch of hot crushed red pep­per, or some shav­ings of salty aged pecorino cheese.

Si­cil­ian-Style Cit­rus Salad MAKES 6 SERV­INGS

3 to 4 ta­ble­spoons olive oil 2 tbsp sherry vine­gar or red wine vine­gar Salt and pep­per 2 navel or­anges 4 blood or­anges 2 Cara Cara or­anges 1 small grape­fruit 1 small red onion, very thinly sliced 1 small fen­nel bulb, very thinly sliced, enough to make 1 cup 2 or 3 ten­der in­side cel­ery stalks, thinly sliced at an an­gle Hand­ful of olives, black oil cured type or green Castel­ve­trano type, pit­ted Win­ter salad leaves, such as radic­chio or es­ca­role, op­tional Large pinch of flaky sea salt

To­tal time: 30 min­utes 1. Make the vinai­grette, whisk­ing to­gether olive oil and vine­gar in a small bowl. Sea­son with salt and pep­per and set aside. It should be tart but not over-vine­gary. Taste and add a lit­tle more olive oil if nec­es­sary.

2. To peel the cit­rus fruit, use a small ser­rated knife. First, cut off a thin slice of peel from the top and bot­tom of the orange, so it can sit flat and se­curely on the cut­ting board. Use a saw­ing mo­tion to take off the peel, cut­ting from top to bot­tom, fol­low­ing the curve of the fruit. Re­move only the peel and white pith, not the flesh of the orange. It should now be per­fectly spher­i­cal and naked. Peel re­main­ing or­anges and grape­fruit in this fash­ion.

3. Care­fully slice peeled cit­rus cross­wise. Ar­range slices on a large serv­ing plat­ter in a ran­dom pat­tern, let­ting them over­lap a bit here and there. Scat­ter onion, fen­nel and cel­ery over top. Dot the sur­face with olives. Sur­round with salad leaves, if us­ing.

4. Whisk vinai­grette, and spoon evenly over the salad. Sprin­kle lightly with flaky salt and serve.


Fruit salad may sound like dessert or some­thing to ac­com­pany break­fast or brunch, but it can also veer savoury.

Ingredients like olives, red onion, fen­nel and cel­ery add savoury notes and crunch to the cit­rus.

Re­mov­ing skin from blood or­anges: slice off the top and bot­tom for sta­bil­ity, then re­move the sides with a saw­ing mo­tion.

An as­sort­ment of mul­ti­coloured or­anges can be quite beau­ti­ful.

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