Blood oranges are all over the markets right now. It's actually very surprising, because a few years ago I could not find a blood orange anywhere but in the city. In my local supermarket they've even started selling them in bulk bags. Last week I saw packages upon packages of blood oranges in the reduced-price produce bin and of course I bought them, because there was nothing wrong with them. That tells me that people don't buy them because they don't know what to do with them. I've made this Valentine's dessert with them. I eat blood oranges throughout the season just as I do regular oranges. I enjoy the unique taste: very citrusy but more mellow with the flavor of dark fruits like raspberries or blackberries. Plus blood oranges share the same beneficial antioxidants as dark fruits.
This year blood oranges haven't been as sweet as in the past, but they are great for use in savory dishes, such as this salad. I start with a base of peppery arugula and thinly shaved fennel. The final touches are slices of blood orange, crumbled feta, and toasted walnuts. The anise flavors of the fennel, the peppery arugula, and the salty feta are a very nice match for the blood oranges. I also use the blood orange juice, squeezed from the core, for the vinaigrette. I'm making use of every part. The salad makes a great main meal, perhaps for lunch, but it also works very well as an appetizer salad at dinnertime. Why not try blood oranges for a change? I promise you will see what you're missing.
Arugula Salad with Shaved Fennel, Blood Oranges, and Crumbled Feta
Note: After supreming the oranges, squeeze the juice from the remaining core and use it to make the vinaigrette.
2 tablespoon blood orange juice
2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces baby arugula
1 medium fennel bulb, thinly sliced
2 blood oranges, supremed
2 ounces feta, crumbled
1/3 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
In a large bowl, whisk together blood orange juice, vinegar, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add arugula and sliced fennel. Toss to coat. Transfer salad to serving bowl or divide among plates. Nestle blood orange slices into salad. Top with crumbled feta and chopped walnuts. Yield: 2 main-course servings or 4 appetizer servings.