I invariably start my weeknight dinners with a salad. Usually, it’s the leafy green variety with a simple vinaigrette.
But every now and again, I want a change. This time of year I particularly want something bright and tangy.
I have fond memories of making an orange and black olive salad while spending time in Sicily.
This week’s version is a bit different in that I’ve also incorporated quick “pickled” red onion and some goat’s cheese. I’ve also used several types of oranges.
There’s a wide variety of citrus fruit available right now. I used navel, Cara Cara and blood oranges to create lots of bright colour on the plate.
You can choose a mild goat’s milk cheese to top your salad, or if you want a bolder flavour, consider Feta. If black olives aren’t to your liking, try dried cranberries or even some toasted almonds.
This salad is easy to make. The dressing is simply the vinegar that the red onions were quickly “pickled” in and some good extra virgin olive oil. Add some sea salt and freshly cracked pepper and this salad is ready to go. To turn it into a special occasion salad, consider putting a couple of large, pan-fried shrimp on top.
The following recipe serves two, but can be easily doubled.
Citrus Salad with Black Olives and Goat’s Cheese
1/4 cup (50 ml) thinly sliced red onion or shallot 1 tbsp (15 ml) white wine vinegar 1 large navel orange 1 Cara Cara orange 1 blood orange 2-3 cups (500-750 ml) of mixed greens (arugula and spinach) 8-10 black olives 1/3 cup (75 ml) crumbled mild soft goat’s cheese or Feta 2 tbsp (25 ml) extra virgin olive oil Sea Salt Pepper
Place onion in small glass bowl. Drizzle with vinegar. Add a pinch of salt and toss. Set aside. Using sharp paring knife, slice off ends of oranges to create a flat surface. Cut skins off each orange. making sure to remove pith. Slice each orange crosswise into 1/2-inch (1 cm) slices and set aside. Divide greens between two salad plates. Decoratively arrange orange slices on top of greens. Scatter red onion slices over top of oranges. Drizzle vinegar from bowl over top of oranges. Divide olives and cheese over top. Drizzle olive oil over each salad. Season lightly with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper.