Summer salads are an easy seduction. The bright colours, the delicate greens, the warmth of fruit warming in the sun, it’s a simple formula, like the blonde with the big laugh on TV, there is something comforting about getting it all upfront. There isn’t much hidden in a summer salad.
Winter salads are the opposite. Either there is nothing at all to love, you know the ones, with the flavourless lettuce, the watery cucumber and the grainy tomato, or you take some time to produce complicated mix of things that use up the limited things that grow in January.
This salad falls firmly into the latter category, it’s a perfect balance of bitter lettuce, salty olives, and tart oranges all tossed in a sweet dressing that is brightened by fresh mint.
I started thinking about radiccio at home, but when I got to my local market and saw the blood oranges I couldn’t resist adding them to the mix. It wasn’t until I saw the mint perched close to the check-out that I realized that this salad was teatering somewhere between Italian and Moroccan. Regardless of it’s origins, this salad and a thick cut of toast is the answer to a cold crisp day.
Blood Orange and Raddicio Salad with Dried Olives and Mint Dressing
1 Head Radiccio
5 Blood Oranges (regular oranges will do if you can’t find their red cousins)
1/3 cup Dried Black Olives
1 tbsp Finely chopped Mint
1tbsp Finely chopped Flat Leaf Parsley
1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Segment the oranges: Cut off their tops and bottoms. With the orange “standing up” cut off the peel and pith so that no white from the peel remains. Over a medium bowl pick up the orange and using a paring knife cut in between the membranes to release each slice of orange. When your finished removing the slices squeeze all the remaining juice from the core into the bowl. Repeat with the rest of the oranges.
Strain the orange slices into a small pot, and reduce that liquid until it is syrupy, and only about a tablespoon remains.
Mix this mixture with the lemon juice and whisk in the oil. Add a pinch of salt and adjust the seasoning as you wish. Mix in the parsley and mint.
Wash the radiccio and tear into a big pieces. Mix them with the orange segments.
Tear the olives apart by pressing your thumb into the middle until the olive splits in half. Remove the pit and tear them fully in half. Continue with the rest of them and add that to the bowl with the orange and radiccio.
Toss with the dressing and serve immediately!