It’s just about mid-January, and while I’m not exactly in a root vegetable rutt yet, I couldn’t help think about all the summer salads that are months away for us farmers’ market shoppers here in the northeast. I had no intention of even making a salad, but after spying some blood oranges at the little market I inhabit a few times a week, I soon found myself picking up some organic baby arugula too.
Sometimes it’s okay to step outside of your own “rules” for shopping. In this case, I wanted a light, summery salad to add some sunshine to a very cold day. This was perfect, and I justified that at least the ingredients were coming from Florida and hadn’t traveled across international borders.
The oranges, though they have a bittersweetness to them, combined with a sprinkling of marcona almonds, also meant the kids were apt to give it a try. Nevermind that all they did was pick out the fruit and nuts. The fact they came that close to arugula is a coup I’m happily going to claim.
Now’s the time for an orange-slicing tutorial too. Those glistening pith-free sections you see in restaurants are very easy to attain at home too.
- Using a paring knife, remove the skin, as if you’re peeling an apple. Make sure the blade grabs the white pith too.
- You should now be able to see the thin membrane that divides the orange into section. Place the blade of you knife between each membrane and make a cut like this.
- Make a cut into the section on the other side of the membrane and the slice will slip right out onto the cutting board. You soon will be left with an orange “carcass” that looks like a rolodex missing all of its files.
You’re not done yet, though. Now take the orange remains (not the slices), and give them a good hearty squeeze. You’ll get about 2 teaspoons of juice which is perfect for adding to the dressing—a blood orange vinaigrette.
Arugula, Blood Orange & Marcona Almond Salad
1 blood orange, skin removed and cut into sections & 2 teaspoons of juice reserved (see post)
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon whole grain dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 cups (1.75 ounces) lightly packed baby arugula, rinsed & patted dry
2 tablespoons (1/2 ounce) marcona almonds, coarsely chopped
In a large bowl, combine the blood orange juice, vinegar, olive oil, mustard and honey. Whisk vigorously until it forms an emulsion (cook speak for a thick, well-mixed dressing). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add the arugula to the bowl with the dressing, and toss to coat. Arrange lettuce on a serving platter. Scatter orange sections and almonds on top. Serve immediately.
Note: dressing may be made a day ahead, and stored in a tightly sealed jar in the fridge. Orange sections may be stored in a tightly sealed separate container stored in the fridge too. When ready to serve salad, give the dressing another quick whisk to re-combine, and proceed with directions for plating.