Tuscany saw some lovely weather at the end of March even though there was still some snow lingering on the tops of the mountains. Lamb is starting to be on offer at the butchers without having to order it and the neighbours are suffering the start of the spring glut of fresh eggs, so lots arriving on the windowsill to make Fritatas, the Italian omelet made with blanched veg.
The big news at this time of year is the arrival of lovely ripe oranges and lemons from the south, we can get them all winter long but right now they are at their most succulent with soft edible peel. Time to make Insalata di Agrumi or Citrus Salad, thinly sliced oranges, (and lemons if you want) fresh red onion, with olives that will have been harvested in late autumn then stored under brine.
It works fine as a side dish to roast chicken and makes a nice contrast with baked fish. In some parts of the Mediterranean including Sardinia it is used to flavour pasta.
4 - 6 oranges, depending on size
1 lemon (optional)
Black olives,(stoned if you can find them)
Extra virgin olive oil
Fresh ground black pepper.
1 red onion, very fresh
How to make:
- Slice the oranges
in half then with the flat side down on the chopping board slice through a
thinly as you can. A sharp slicer works well too but not the slicing disk
on a food mixer as it tend to mash them up. If you find the peel too tough
or hard to slice thinly you can peal the oranges first. Discard both ends
which are largely just pith.
- Slice the onion
in a similar way.
- The oranges
make the first layer on a large plate, then the onions and finally the olives.
- Abundant olive
oil and black pepper over the top and a little salt.
- The dish can be served right away but best left to sit for half an hour.
Also makes an appetizer by adding some Greek Feta cheese. OK I know it's not really Italian then but Sarah my wife loves it, which is of course the equivalent to a Royal Command.
Susan and Brooke Martin learning to make Insalata di Agrumi
on an Italywithrelish Cooking holiday in Cortona, Tuscany.