Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Nona's orange and onion winter salad. (Fight off a cold)

This time of year on the north coast of New South Wales  (Australia) is citrus heaven. There are so many delicious oranges, lemons, limes and grapefuit around. This is a great little salad to take advantage of the abundant and cheap citrus available in winter. This dish brings back so many sweet childhood memories for me. My Nona used to
feed it to us to ward off the common cold. I didn't care at the age of four or five if this salad was good for a cold. I just loved the taste: the sweet juicy oranges and the pungent yet sweet salad onion, salt and olive oil. I just gobbled it down, to the amusement of the adults in my family. Who is this kid who loves raw onion? they used to say. She must have Italian blood! 
I love to play around with this simple dish and use blood oranges instead of ordinary oranges (or a mixture of the two) and I sometimes add purple onion instead of the classic white salad onion of my childhood. You can add fresh mint, parsley or even coriander and it will take it to another level. Lots of freshly cracked pepper, good cold pressed organic olive oil and pink Himalayan salt, yum! Try serving on a bed of rocket or any bitter salad greens. Or with diced avocado, also in seasonal abundance here in the winter. You could also add fresh fennel, cucumber slices, celery or blanched green beans to make it a simple meal. Toss in a handful of toasted pine nuts and it's damn good.

Fresh, sweet, crisp and so good, try this salad out. It's a great for preventing colds and it's surprisingly good with pasta.

3x small oranges, 
2x small blood oranges (try 'lemonade' fruit - a sweet lemon variety)
1 medium white salad onion or purple onion, very finely sliced
1/2 bunch fresh mint, parsley or coriander, finely shredded
1 tsp Himalayan salt
1/4 cup good cold-pressed olive oil 
1 tsp dried oregano, rubbed between your fingers
1x lemon, juiced
1 tbs cider vinegar 
1 cup baby wild rocket to garnish.

Cut the top and bottom off the citrus fruit, remove the pith, and slice into disks and cut into wedges or segments. Be neat, it's prettier! Use a sharp knife so you don't squash the juice out of the oranges. Prepare the rest of the ingredients and toss in a salad bowl. Scatter wild baby wild rocket leaves or leaves of your choice. 

Make this dish not long before you plan to serve it as the citrus leaches all its juiciness and it can become a bit soggy. 

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