Finally, signs of warm weather have emerged in NC. I was really getting tired of the rainy, cold crap that Mother Nature kept sending our way. I hope it is done!
The other day was amazingly beautiful outside. I got out of work at a decent time and stopped at the store, only to see the last signs of blood oranges. I snatched up a few thinking I could use them for something and decided to make a salad to fully motivate me for Spring and it's delicious produce.
I am a big fan of blood oranges, mostly because they are super photogenic. Yep, that's what I said, a fruit looks good behind a camera! Blood oranges are also very sweet, with almost a hint of berries sometimes. The flavor makes for great cocktails or desserts. I went a different route and added it to a salad. I cut off the rinds and pith, so that the bright colors really show up in the salad.
I chose to combine the blood oranges with Hearts of Palm, which is one of my favorite snacks. Heart of palm is pretty much what it sounds like, a vegetable that is harvested from the the inner core and growing bud of palm trees. I usually buy them in cans and jars (located on the canned vegetable section in a grocery store). I also just used the red wine vinaigrette from a previous recipe - Caramelized Pancetta and Fennel Salad. Any vinaigrette or a good quality olive oil would work as a dressing though.
Blood oranges might also be hard to come by, so substitute any sweet orange in the salad. It will be just as tasty. To create the wedges in this salad, slice off the top and bottom of the orange to create a flat surface. Then cut off the skin one section at a time to reveal the crimson red (or orange) flesh of the orange. With a sharp knife, cut into the orange (from top to bottom) along the section edges and a little wedge should come out. Repeat this all the way around the orange.
The only disappointment was that the orange I cut open for the salad wasn't as crimson red as the usual ones. It is the end of blood orange season, so if you find them, snatch them up while they are here!
Citrus and Hearts of Palm SaladYields: 4 salad
Prep Time: 15 minutes
2 blood oranges, peeled, sliced
1 jar Hearts of Palm, drained, sliced
1/4 cup hazelnuts, lightly toasted and chopped
Mixed greens (mache, spinach, arugula, romaine)
Fennel, thinly sliced (optional)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
In a small bowl, whisk the red wine vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper together. While whisking, slowly add in the olive oil to help emulsify the dressing. Add more salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
If the hazelnuts need to be toasted, heat them over medium heat in a small skillet. Watch them carefully and toast until slightly fragrant. Do not let them brown or burn!! Cool and chop.
To assemble the salad, layer mixed greens onto the plate and add on the sliced Hearts of Palm and fennel if using.