Sunday, February 19, 2006

Citrus Salad

Vitamin C is vital to staying healthy in flu season. This simple powerhouse rears its head in numerous supplements. Today, one is able to uncover vitamin C enhanced dairy and cereal products. New beverages proclaim to be “C Monster” or “Ex-C-lent.” But like most things, it is always more satisfying in the natural state.

With Chinese New Year having just past, oranges are on the mind. Thought to have originated in the orient, it is no surprise that numerous Asian dishes contain oranges in some form. It is also no surprise then that citrus translates as “wealth” and “luck” from the Chinese, which is why it is eaten in the New Year—to bring us wealth and luck. I prefer this tradition to black-eyed peas and cabbage.

At a recent dinner party a New Orleans native claimed Louisiana oranges the best in the world. Having always thought Florida, perhaps Valencia, to be top pick, I did not even know Louisiana grew oranges. I took him up on the challenge. From the kitchen he withdrew a fresh-picked orange from a recent trip home. The result? It was excellent: sweet and juicy as an orange should be. Now if he will just bring a bushel back for me…

I recently read a short comparison on blood oranges. In sight and taste tests, the California blood won over the Valencia. So with blood oranges on my mind, I sojourned to the grocery store for the pickings. I returned with two blood oranges and broke into one on my walk home. Once that outer skin was cracked and peel discarded, memory assaulted me: I was sitting in my junior high school cafeteria eating blood orange wedges from my packed lunch. Kids made fun of me and my bloody fruit, saying it was disgusting. I simply ate my crimson fruit, happy that I did not have to share, happy with my gourmet mom, happy with all things good and sweet.

In an effort to curb a recent bout of gluttony, I am making more salads in the upcoming weeks. When I was single, salads were a staple. Not so much because they are healthy, but fast and easy. The most effort put into this one is peeling the fruit. (One could also just slice off the peel to save time.) It can even pass as a dessert. This salad is simple, delicious, refreshing, and a little bit different. A culinary amateur can easily prepare this with rave reviews. And do not pass up the salt-- it is a fabulous companion to the citrus.

Serves 2. Prep Time= 8 minutes.
* 1 grapefruit (white or pink)
* 1 orange
* 1 blood orange
* juice of 1 lime
* 4 slices fresh prociutto
* 8-10 fresh mint leaves, chopped
* sprinkle of coarse pink sea salt (Lot’s Wyfe pink Hawaiian sea salt is recommended)

1) Peel citrus, and slice into ¼-inch discs; arrange on 2 plates. Over each plate, drizzle the lime juice and sprinkle with mint. Lay 2 slices of prociutto on each plate. Sprinkle generously with sea salt and enjoy.

View Stats Defining your blogs worth..