Monday, March 3

Sunday, Bloody (Orange) Sunday

Blood Oranges at Farmers' Market

It rained here for the last three weekends. As a result, the Sunday farmers' market was nearly empty. (Southern Californians don't go out in the rain.) So, it's been just a few farmers, some die-hard vegetarians, and a handful of New England transplants.

This all changed yesterday. It was the quintessential San Diego day -- a glorious 72 degrees, sunny, with a light breeze. You couldn't move at the farmers' market. People were clamoring for colorful rainbow carrots, luscious Meyer lemons, and tart pink grapefruit.

The biggest attraction was the exceptionally juicy, tangy blood oranges that beckoned market-goers with their ruby-colored flesh. One poor farmer handing out samples nearly got trampled on by a gaggle of Red Hats who were visiting. And there I was without my camera. Ugh.

So what's all the fuss about? Anthocyanin, the same chemical that makes blueberries blue and cranberries red, gives blood oranges their characteristic "bloody"color. It can range from bright ruby red to deep burgundy and has an exceptionally pleasing sweet-tart flavor unlike any other orange.

It's more than just their brilliant flesh that makes them so prized, it's their unique flavor -- like a sweet orange that has been infused with tangy tangerine and tart cherries.

Blood oranges are pricey--usually $3.00/ lb here-- but they're worth it. Their season generally runs from January-April, so now is the time to get them.

citrus and arugula salad

Try them in savory salads of bitter greens, zesty salsas for seafood, or even grain dishes. As for sweets, they're amazing in marmalades, delicious in baked goods, and sophisticated when paired with simple vanilla ice cream or pudding. Or you could eat 'em plain. Just don't wear a white shirt while doing so. Take my word for it.

Sicily has some of the world's must sought-after blood oranges, which was my inspiration for this peppery wild arugula salad with juicy blood oranges, tart pink grapefruit, and tangy minneolas (another citrus hybrid that is half grapefruit and half tangerine). Crispy, salty prosciutto contrasts pleasingly with the sweet-tart fruit while earthy pine nuts add complexity and texture. This is a salad that isn't easily forgettable.

Wild Arugula and Blood Orange Salad with Prosciutto
Serves 4
Print recipe only here.

6 cups of wild arugula**
2 blood oranges, peeled and sliced cross-wise
1 pink grapefruit, peeled and sliced cross-wise
1 Minneola tangerine, peeled and sliced cross-wise
3 ounces proscuitto, torn into small strips
2 teaspoons toasted pine nuts

Orange-Fennel Vinaigrette:
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, toasted
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed blood orange juice or navel orange juice
1/4 teaspoon orange zest
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
salt and pepper, to taste

To toast the pine nuts, place them in a small, dry skillet over medium heat. Shake the pan handle back and forth for 1-2 minutes, or until the nuts are golden brown and aromatic. Set aside.

To make the vinaigrette, place fennel seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat. Shake the pan handle back and forth for 1-2 minutes, or until slightly toasted and aromatic. Place in a bowl, and whisk in remaining vinaigrette ingredients.

Layer prosciutto slices in a medium skillet over medium heat for 30 seconds. Flip once and cook an additional 20-30 seconds or until crispy. Set aside.

Arrange fruit slices on a plate, top with a bunch of arugula, and 1/4 of the prosciutto. Drizzle with dressing, and sprinkle with pine nuts.

**Wild arugula is a svelter version of regular arugula and has a slightly more peppery flavor; it can be found in most organic stores such as Whole Foods. Of course, regular arugula can be substituted.

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Helene said...

I can't get enough blood oranges lately (and kumquats!). The salad looks absolutely gorgeous, refreshing and good for you!

Mandy said...

I haven't been to the farmer's market for awhile due to the crazy weather. Can't wait to see if I can find blood oranges and also meyer lemons here!Your salad looks so appetizing. :)

Anonymous said...

I like the arugula in this. Nice, susan :)

Anonymous said...

I just used my last two blood oranges today and have to get to the farmer's market before their season is over. I hope there are no Red Hats there. Am I wrong or is are the Red Hats grown up Girl Scouts?

RecipeGirl said...

I had to laugh... because you're right- everyone stays home when it rains! My hubby is from New England and he thinks it's ridiculous too :) I need to get myself to a Farmer's Market... I don't seem to get there enough! The salad looks beautiful :)

Manggy said...

I've not yet seen a blood orange but the way you describe it is just so intriguing. I love citrus flavors with arugula too :)

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

You blow my mind Susaan!! All that beautiful citrus wow. Not forgetable would be the understatement! And the dressing is incredible.

Suzana said...

My only complain is that I didn't get any of that wonderful salad! ;)

Mike of Mike's Table said...

I have some major produce-envy. I've never come across a blood orange yet and would really like to try one. The salad sounds like it would be great!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

tartlette-It's refreshing to make and to eat, especially to eat. ;)

mandy-Yeah, the farmers' markets are amazing right now.

maryann-I'm wild about wild arugula. ;)

joy-Yes, but with big red hats and oftentimes feathers. It's scary.

recipegirl-It's so true, isn't it? And I didn't even get into the umbrellas.... ;)

manggy-OK, you really need to take a trip to California. Life without blood oranges makes me sad.

tanna-Wow! Thanks a bunch!

suzana-Had I known you were going to like it that much, I would have saved you some.

mike-No blood oranges in Florida? You might try Trader Joe's or Whole Foods. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

LOVE blood oranges. They seem to make any dish majestic. As always, I learned a few new things from your post Susan. Thanks. Also, tell Mike that I have seen blood oranges in the Tampa Bay area in both Publix and Sweet Bay, but only this time of year.

Patricia Scarpin said...

I have never seen blood oranges, Susan, and to be honest I don't know if we can find any here in Brazil. They look fantastic and their juice is amazing (I had it in Europe last year).

This salad is just perfect! I love the ingredients you put together here.

Susan @ SGCC said...

Lovely salad! I love to add citrus to our salads. It gives them a little zing!

I love blood oranges, but the ones we get here seem to be very dry and bitter. I don't know why. Our Mineolas have been outstanding, though.

Anonymous said...

Love them! Love the combination with arugula and proscuitto too.

Finla said...

Yumm the salade looks so delicious and so good looking

MeloMeals said...

Beautiful salad.. I think it's been a year since I've had a blood orange. Must find them!

I am sooo jealous that you can goto a farmer's market. Sometimes, I dream about moving out of New England.

Anonymous said...

I wish I could swap Greenmarkets with you. I have serious envy issues going on here. And then to pair them with arugula! Argh! Stupid east coast. :-)

Veron said...

Now you have me craving blood oranges. I wonder if they have them in the Fresh market in richmond. Our farmers market has not started yet.

cmoore said...

For some reason in my presumedly destitute East Coast locale I've managed to find blood oranges at 5/$1. And have been taking advantage of that, trust me.

Susan said...

I happened across blood oranges just recently for the first time. They are still in my fridge. I've been contemplating a salad dressing, too. Now that I see how beautifully yours has turned out, it's time to cut mine open and get messy.

Sig said...

I haven't gone to the market in a while... My list is growing... I love blood oranges...the color is beautiful... And this is a lovely salad you have here!

Gretchen Noelle said...

You make me soooo curious about blood oranges. Never had them, seen them or tasted them. They sound delicious though!

Linda said...

haha i just posted about oranges. they are the best this time of year. love those blood oranges. yours are really red! looks like a delicious salad.

Mishmash ! said...

we, me and my husband, are hooked to blood oranges from the day we tried it the first time...we bought some this afternoon too...even though it is winter here, a glass of freshly squeezed juice with a touch of honey or sugar is refreshing :)

thepassionatecook said...

i am in love with blood oranges, if i have a choice i'll also choose blood orange over normal orange juice. unfortunately, those beauties are incredibly hard to come by here... i remember eating a blood orange carpaccio (more an aspic, but a very good one at that) at the manoir au quatr saisons which i have been wanting to re-create since... if only i could find those oranges!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

I just brought some blood oranges home from the market (oh, how I wish we had good winter farmers' markets here in Rhode Island...) so my husband can try his new passion -- lemon and lime curds -- with the blood oranges instead. Your recipe looks lovely.

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

We get blood oranges in the supermarkets in NY if we are lucky, but they never, never look as good as yours! Of course, they are serving nothing like your stunning salad in the airport I'm in tonight ....

glamah16 said...

I need to find some nice juicy blood oranges.I haven't had luck with them before as there were not really ripe or juicy. Salad looks great.

Nic said...

Haven't seen blood oranges in a while, I'll have to go on a hunt for them now! I bet that arugula gave it a lovely peppery kick.

Anonymous said...

I have only ever seen blood oranges in pictures! I'm so curious to try them...this salad does indeed sound unforgettable :)

I love wild arugula :)

michelle said...

Mmmm... I *love* blood oranges. And this recipe sounds delicious!

Cakelaw said...

These oranges are beuatiful - they look well worth the price, and really "amke" the salad.

David Hall said...

You are SOOOO lucky getting hold of fresh blood oragnes. That colour is amazing! Can you suggest an alternative to arugula? The salad looks exceptional.


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Wonderful! I love that combination of ingredients! Tasty!



Andrea said...

I'm quite jealous of your farmer's markets! Having easy access to all kinds of local fruits year round must be wonderful! That orange and salad both look marvelous.

Annie said...

You are so lucky to be able to go to the farmers market this time of year. I can't wait for spring!

BTW, the salad looks mouth watering. I love the contrasting flavors!

Terry at Blue Kitchen said...

You know, Susan, posts like this one are why Southern Californians aren't so popular this time of year. Here I am in Chicago, pitifully marveling over the smell of fresh strawberries, and you're blithely picking your way through a cornucopia.

Okay, sorry. This winter's just being a long one. The salad looks fabulous, of course. Combining citrus and arugula? And prosciutto? Amazing. And as always, I love all the information you provide.

Nemmie said...

Beautiful, makes me want to run out for more blood oranges tomorrow (they don't last long in this house).

And I am deadly, supremely jealous of your famers market. Dying here. Gotta go back out to SoCal for a visit STAT.

Swati said...

Never had these red oranges before but your description is quite enticing!! Lovely salad!!

sra said...

Very nice post, Susan! I've only heard of them. I've not seen there here in India yet, but the rate at which we are getting all kinds of new fruit, these shouldn't be far along the way.

Anonymous said...

Oh wow, this looks SO good! I haven't seen blood oranges here (weird, since Spain is known for it's orange production) yet...but I think I may have to try this salad anyway! Even if I have to substitute regular oranges. Beautiful.

Anonymous said...

gosh, what an enticing photo of the blood orange. I've never seen one "in the flesh" though I hear about them often enough. It's not something we can get up north. I loved your description of the taste as well -- now that's something I know I'd enjoy!


Heather said...

I love wild rocket. The deeply-serrated leaf margins make it look prettier on the plate too. Your salad is gorgeous, Susan! I was thinking about a blood orange/roasted fennel salad, but your vinaigrette takes care of that!

La Cuisine d'Helene said...

What an interesting way of serving those really nice blood oranges. Sorry to hear that it is rainy.

Annemarie said...

There's something jeweled and ruby like about these fruits that comes as such a relief at the end of a winter (especially in the harsh climate of San Diego, I'd imagine). I'm always in such awe of them I leave them around for ages and then just eat them for fear they'll go bad. Great idea with the salad.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

ronnie-Will do!

patricia-No blood oranges in Brazil? I'm surprised to hear that.

susan-That's too bad; maybe they traveled too far?

linda-The flavors are really spectacular together.

happy cook-Thanks a lot!

melody-I know, they're like paradise for cooks.

ann-I've been the object of much citrus-envy lately. ;)

veronica-I'm sure Fresh Market would have them. Good luck!

cmoore-5/$1? Wow! Really, wow!

susan-Just no white shirts.

sig-Many thanks! They make me happy every time I have one.

gretchen-Looks like a trip to SoCal is in order.

linda-The color is just brilliant.

shn-Makes you forget it's wintertime for a while, doesn't it?

johanna-They really are superior to ordinary oranges.

lydia-I've been wanting to make curd for the longest time.

tw-No, I've never seen blood orange and arugula salad at the airport. Wishing you safe and happy travels!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

glamah16-Good luck on the hunt!

nicisme-The peppery arugula contrasts beautifully with the sweet-tart oranges.

joey-I hope you experience one very soon!

michelle-Then I'm sure you'd love the salad.

cakelaw-They really do!

david-I would suggest frisee or endive, since both are on the bitter side. Even a spicy mesclun mix works well.


andrea-It's one of the things I love most about living here.

annie-My brother just visited from RI, and he couldn't believe it! He and his wife are counting the days till RI farmers' markets open.

nemmie-Let me know about that visit. I'll hook you up with the markets. :)

terry-Yeah, I'm feeling the citrus-envy lately.

swati-Many thanks! I do hope you get to experience one soon.

sra-I hope you get them soon too! They're really sensational.

canarygirl-It would work well with regular oranges too.

diane-Oh, thanks, I'm glad it painted a good picture for you. Now, we've got to get you to eat some!

heather-I just love this vinaigrette. Of course, you could add sliced fennel bulb too.

helene-The flavors are really vibrant together.

annemarie-Yeah, I almost had to whip out the umbrella. ;)

Chris said...

I have yet to try blood oranges. Whenever I am at the market and remember to look for them, they're not around. This recipe is incentive to keep looking!
(Now I have U2 in my la la la)