Orange Salad

(“Insalata di Arance” -  “Aranci a ‘Nzalata”)

 

                         

 

The soul of Sicilian cooking is synthesized in a very modest and rather common salad prepared, with some variations in the entire Island.
Oranges grow abundantly and in many varieties in all parts of Sicily.
The orange salad is simply made with oranges, olive oil, salt, pepper and little lemon juice.
Traditionally and since the pre-Hellenic era, the combination of the sweetness of the honey, the sour tang of the vinegar and the saline taste of the salt, it had been realized in dressing salads and in cooking fish and meats, like pork, lamb, or game, where even apples, chestnuts and raisins were added to compliment the meat’s dishes.
With the Arab occupation of Sicily and the introduction and cultivation in large scale of the citrus fruits, their acerbic-bitter taste was added to some dishes creating combinations in taste never dared before, some present in today’s cooking.

The orange salad can be used as an appetizer, or for a snack; it can be enhanced by pairing it with a tender celery heart or the pleasant and pungent flavor of the fennel, or to the bitterness of the green olives, or with the sharp flavor of red onions or to the strong taste of salted anchovies or of the smoked herrings, a very popular delicacy in Sicily.  
The sweet and sour blood oranges are an ideal fruit to make in a salad; if they are not available use any good eating oranges.

 

SERVES 6

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 small oranges peeled and cut crosswise into round slices, if using large oranges, cut each slice in half.
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

 

PREPARATION

 

The Dressing
Beat the oil and mix in the lemon juice, the zest of orange and a small amount of salt. Set aside.

Arrange sliced oranges in a large serving dish.
Before serving, shake the dressing and uniformly drizzle it on top of the oranges, add ground black pepper.

Dressing Variations:You can add other ingredients to improve the recipe to your taste and make an exceptional antipasto rich with a variety of savors and stimulating to the appetite.
Here are some suggestions.

 

                                   Fennels

 

The Fennel
For above recipe you need one fennel and a few extra tablespoons of olive oil.
To prepare fennel for salad, trim, cut base, discard rough outer leaves and stalks. Eliminate any wilted or bruised part.
Set on the side the inside tender green leaves attached in the center of the white bulbous part, to be used as garnish or to flavor other recipes.
Cut the fennel vertically into 2 pieces, each piece into 1/8 inch slices. Wash carefully and place in a colander to drain.
Place sliced fennels in the center of your serving dish and arrange sliced or diced oranges all around. Garnish with tender green leaves of the fennel.

 

                                       Orange-Fennels Salad

 

The Celery
Use one heart of celery for above recipe.
Wash, drain and cut the celery into thin slices, place in center of serving dish and arrange sliced oranges all around.
Add a few extra tablespoons of olive oil.

 

The Olives


The Green Olives

  • ½ Lb. olives rinsed and cracked to eliminate the pits.                                                      
  • 1 clove of crushed garlic
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of vinegar
  • Black pepper, red crushed pepper, and a pinch of oregano
  • Chopped parsley

Mix all ingredients, let it stand a few hours to exchange the taste of the various ingredients before placing in center of serving dish,  arrange sliced oranges all around.

 

The Black Olives

  • ½ lb. black olives, rinsed and pitted                                                     
  • 1 clove of garlic diced
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of vinegar
  • Pinch of each: black pepper, red crushed pepper, oregano

Mix all ingredients, and let it stand a few hours to exchange the taste of the various ingredients before placing in center of serving dish, arrange sliced oranges all around.

 

                                     Orange Salad

                                     Orange Salad with Olives and Onions

The Red Onions
½ medium red onion sliced very, very thin.

Place in a small bowl, sprinkle with a little salt, a few drops of olive oil and mix it.
Arrange sliced oranges in a large serving dish.
Before serving, add red onion, shake the dressing and uniformly drizzle it on top of oranges with freshly ground black pepper.

 

The Anchovies and the Herrings

  • 4 fillets of anchovies in oil cut into small pieces
  • Or 2 smoked herrings filleted and cut into small pieces.
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of vinegar
  • Pinch of black pepper and red crushed pepper (optional)

Place the anchovies or herrings in a small bowl. Combine with olive oil and vinegar. Sprinkle with black pepper and red crushed pepper and mix it.
Set on the side.
Arrange sliced oranges in a large serving dish.
Before serving, pick up the anchovies or herrings form bowl using a tong or a slatted spoon, to eliminate excess oil. Place on top of the sliced oranges, shake the dressing and uniformly drizzle it on top, add freshly ground black pepper.

 

                                         Anchoives

 

                                              Herrings