Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Sicilian Sunshine

Insalata di Arancia e Pomodoro
Orange and Tomato Salad

What are the first things that spring to mind when I think of Sicily? There are so many wonderful things, from almonds and olives, to cannoli and granita. Of course there is Don Corleone and his hoods too... but the most typical flavors are probably those of the tomato and the orange- 2 fruits that, kissed by the sun, have all of the vibrancy and the joy of life of the deep South... and how wonderful they taste combined together!

I love salads- so quick, so easy and so healthy! This is a simple and tasty combination that is every bit as juicy and delicious as it looks. It takes hardly any explaining- so I won't make much fuss about it. I just want you to make it and enjoy it!

I chose a lollo rosso lettuce as a base, but you can you whichever salad green you prefer. A nice arugula may be a cool alternative, with it's pungent, peppery taste- but for now let's stick to this mild version, Slice your tomatoes and arrange on top of the salad. Now, scrape the zest of one orange and soak it in boiling water for 5 minutes. This will reduce the acidity and the mild and tasty zest will be used for a garnish later. Now cut out your orange segments and then squeeze the juice from the remaining orange "leftovers". Add a tablespoon of Dijon mustard to the juice, a good squeeze of honey, a pinch of salt, a grind of fresh pepper, a teaspoon of dried oregano, 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil and a little white wine vinegar. Whisk this together and this becomes a most wonderful dressing. Arrange the orange segments on the tomatoes, add a few leaves of basil. Sprinkle a little watercress here and there for a little contrast and a mild peppery flavor. Pour over your dressing and serve with a slice or two of ciabatta to soak up all of those yummy juices! There is something wonderful about the flavor of orange and olive oil and together with the tomatoes and basil, it is a wonderful blast of Sicilian Summer! Buon Apetito!

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