A Citrus Salad for the Polar Vortex
Orange you glad
Last week I wrote to you about the joys of cooking in wintertime — slow-cooked greens, braised hunks of meat, etc. — but I left out what is perhaps my favorite winter food: citrus. The bushels of blood oranges, cara caras, sumo mandarins and Meyer lemons that arrive from warmer climes in the dead of a Northeastern winter are, with their shocks of color and bursts of sugar and acidity, always a welcome development. Best of all, as you spend your Sunday afternoon huddling over a Dutch oven for three or fours hours at time, a perfect navel orange or oro blanco needs barely any manipulation; you can tear the flesh from the peel and enjoy them over your cutting board or grocery bags, or you can make one of my favorite simple salads.
I tend to make this salad just about every week around this time of year, and you can (truly) eat it for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The base can vary; I’ve used all manner of soft dairy products, from stracciatella and burrata to Greek yogurt or labneh. You can dress it up with olives or capers, as I usually do; a few herbs, namely parsley leaves, are a nice touch. One element that I always include is chili oil (or chopped Calabrian chilis), which harmonizes particularly well with the citrus. And for the citrus: oranges are fundamental and any kind will do, but I think sumos are unmatched.