One of the highlights if the citrus fruit season is Blood Oranges. Recently in our shops and veg box deliveries we have had lots of Tarocco blood oranges from Italy. These are the most popular in that country, renowned for their sweet flavour and juiciness. Blood oranges are a natural hybrid and their distinctive colour comes from pigments which change colour in the cold nights of the late harvest season.
In the UK we do not really have a long history of using fruit in savoury dishes but thankfully there is lots of inspiration on this from other parts of the world. At this time of year when we have been eating winter foods for months it can be a real wake up for the taste buds to have something like this orange salad. It is based on a Moroccan style salad which is usually eaten as part of a meal with many dishes but it also makes a great starter.
If you don’t have these exact ingredients it doesn’t really matter. The reason this works is because it has a great balance of flavours so as long as there’s something sharp (like the onions and vinegar) to balance the sweetness of the orange, something salty and something aromatic (like the pepper and celery leaves) it will taste really great. Other leafy herbs, spices and floral notes like orange blossom water all work really well with blood oranges. I used smoked salt to add an earthy funkiness to the flavours.
Ingredients (Serves 2):
2 blood oranges
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
A small onion
1/2 tsp peppercorns (I used white pepper but black, pink or green would be equally delicious)
1/4 tsp salt
Peel and slice the blood oranges and arrange in one layer on your plate
Slice the onions as thin as you can and scatter the slices over the oranges
Mix the olive oil and vinegar together to emulsify and dress the oranges & onions
Scatter chopped celery leaves and garnish with salt and freshly ground pepper.