Early spring in Chicago is rarely as warm as I would like it to be. Beautiful afternoons are often followed by cold and rainy days. One of my favorite ways to bring summer colors into my life is with a variety of interesting citrus.
Although I’m sometimes drawn to the knobby ugliness of interesting tangerines, I can’t resist buying blood oranges when they are available. The bright red flesh makes it one of my preferred spring ingredients. Also, since I first tried it on a European train, it remains linked in my mind with the romance of foreign travel.
Blood oranges are smaller and sweeter tasting than other orange varieties. They are also higher in Vitamin C. Thick skinned and not easy to peel, it is best to cut them into segments.
Since the fruit reminds me of summer, I was motivated to use the oranges for a salad. Mixed with avocado and sprinkled with feta cheese and pistachios, it makes a satisfying lunch on a bed of spinach. Add a filet of salmon or some sliced chicken and it’s a healthy dinner.
Since I bought more oranges than I needed, I used the remaining ones for a Blood Orange Negroni. The sweet juice makes an interesting foil for the bitterness of the Campari. Although garnishes usually remain on the glass rim, I couldn’t resist immersing a bright colored wheel of fruit into my drink as well.
I would love to know what you are eating this spring. Please share your ideas.
Blood Orange and Avocado Salad
2 blood oranges chopped
1 avocado, chopped
¼ cup feta cheese
¼ cup pistachios, toasted
2 large handfuls of spinach
2 tablespoons lime juice
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons maple syrup
Lightly toast pistachios in a dry skillet over medium low for a few minutes stirring constantly to prevent burning. Peel and chop the avocado. Don’t try to peel the oranges. Cut the oranges in half, then use a knife to extract the flesh from the peels. Carefully chop the orange segments. Mix the orange and avocado with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 tablespoon lime juice and 1 teaspoon maple syrup. Mix remaining olive oil, lime juice and maple syrup to dress the greens. Place the spinach in a salad bowl and toss with dressing. Mound the avocado and orange mixture on top. Sprinkle with feta cheese and pistachios. Add a salmon filet or sliced chicken for a heartier meal.
Blood Orange Negroni
2 ounces gin
2 ounces blood orange juice
1 ounce sweet vermouth
1 ounce Campari
2 slices of blood orange
Put all of the ingredients except the orange slices in a metal shaker with ice. Shake until condensation appears on the shaker. Strain the liquid into short tumblers filled with a cube or two of ice. Garnish with blood orange wheels.
Copyright Measured 2016