My face lit up a few days ago when I was grocery shopping and came upon a marvelously large and cheap bag of blood oranges. My mind started to race, and I hurried home to my empty house to start eating and cooking them right away. I was very tempted to make some sort of dessert, but finally decided on a marmalade that would go fabulously with the Selles-sur-Cher ashy goat cheese that I purchased. And what better way to sublime my goat cheese and marmalade than to put it atop of sourdough bread with sea salt, all of which itself would go atop of a lovely, leafy salad with even more blood orange-y goodness packed inside!
It’s been a long winter. As much as I love soups, potages, veloutés and the like, I had been craving a good, green salad. I think I was hoping that I might be able to lure spring out of its hiding place by eating something summery. Why not try to speed things up, right? Whether or not the weather cooperated (it didn’t), this salad definitely brightened my day with its crisp, refreshing flavors and beautiful orange, red and white color palate.
It was a cinch to throw together, simply requiring a tiny bit of time for removing the supremes from the blood oranges, which is a step that you could totally skip by just slicing the oranges into small rings. A splash of raspberry vinegar and a spoonful of strong, French mustard helped to bring out the best in my blood orange and bacon vinaigrette, which would be the perfect addition to a simple spinach and cucumber salad.
Goat cheese and blood orange-black pepper marmalade served over green salad with blood oranges, radishes and blood orange-bacon vinaigrette
For the marmalade:
Zest of 3 blood oranges, plus the juice and orange segments, with all pith removed
1/4 C honey
1 t freshly ground black pepper
Carefully remove the zest from three blood oranges that have been washed, and add it to a small sauce pan. Remove the orange segments from the fruits once all white pith has been removed. Add segments and any juice to the sauce pan. Squeeze any remaining juice from what’s left of the orange and add to the rest. Add the honey and black pepper, and heat over medium-low heat until reduced to about half a cup, about 15 minutes.
For the salad:
Your favorite leafy salad, washed and ready
Segments of 1-2 blood oranges
Zest of 1 blood orange
6-8 radishes, cut into thin slices
Juice of 1 blood orange #610B21(taking what you get while cutting out the segments and squeezing out the rest should be just right)
3 T olive oil
1 T raspberry vinegar
1 T strong mustard
8 slices of extremely crispy bacon, crumbled
Begin by cooking your bacon over high heat until it is extremely crispy and can be easily crumbled. Drain on paper towels and let cool while you prepare the rest. In a large salad bowl, place the zest of one blood orange. Remove the white pith from the orange and carefully remove the orange segments from in between the membranes, catching any juice in your salad bowl. Place the segments aside. Squeeze out any remaining juice into the salad bowl.
Add the oil, mustard, vinegar and crumbled bacon to the salad bowl and stir vigorously with a fork or whisk until the sauce is homogenous. Add the salad to this bowl and mix well. Serve as is, placing the orange segments and radishes on top, or mix them in gently and serve all together.
If you like, and this is highly recommended, cut thick slices of sourdough bread or baguette and place a large chunk of goat cheese on top. Sprinkle with sea salt, and broil about 6-8 minutes until the cheese begins to brown and/or bubble. If using the marmalade, add it to your toasts at the last minute to avoid soggy bread.