Thursday, May 14, 2009
Get your grocery list out and mark down "blood oranges" right now. I'll wait.
*cue Jeopardy! music*
Alright. Now that that is taken care of. I have this "thing" for citrus, especially blood oranges (native to Sicily), which are increasingly more available in the States thanks to Citrus Wonderlands California and Florida. My good friend Tom Culton, of Culton Organics farm/market stand in my hometown, supplies me with lusciously tart, blood red-fleshed oranges that he gets from friends of his, some group of Hassidic Jews that grow exotic fruits (don't ask).
One of the things I think about when it's in between winter and spring, when citrus growing season is coming to a close and spring veggies and fruits are just starting to make an appearance, is a good salad. Citrus pairs so beautifully with buttery sauteed fennel, which is popping up everywhere right now at the farmers market, so I threw this little salad together today for my lunch. I am not a huge fan of raw fennel (I don't like the "black licorice" taste), but when it's sauteed and caramelized something beautiful happens to mellow the taste and it's magically transformed. Also, if you haven't ever tried or been a fan of chevre (soft goat cheese), PLEASE do yourself a favor and try this salad.
Spinach salad with fennel and blood orange
A big handful of fresh spinach leaves (depends on how hungry you are :))
1/2 fennel bulb, thinnly sliced, sauteed until soft & translucent in 1 tblsp. butter
1 blood orange, rind removed, sliced in "coins" cross-ways
1 carrot, peeled and sliced thinly on the bias
1/2 small shallot, thinly sliced
half packaged roll of chevre, crumbled and distributed or sliced in "coins"
good poppyseed dressing*
*generally speaking, I make my own dressings, but I do keep some GOOD quality bottled dressings on hand for when I am super short on time (hey, I work at home and have to grab lunch as I have time!)
Do your thing and get creative arranging the veggies, fruit and cheese atop the spinach. I don't specify amount of dressing because everyone's different; I happen to love a decent amount of dressing, so my hand tends to be a little heavier with it, but suit yourself!