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Blood Orange, Pickled Red Onion, Gray Sea Salt: My Salad

Blood Orange and Red Onion Salad with Gray Sea Salt

You and your blood oranges. I’ve been hearing that phrase consistently every winter for the past five years. You see, when I lived in Italy my junior year of college, I became obsessed. I’d never seen such a thing in my life before: an orange that looked like a regular old orange from the outside, but inside was a juicy, bloody red. It was sweeter than a normal orange, more flavorful, and never failed to surprise me with its myriad of color combinations. Some parts of the orange would be more maroon, while others more closely resembled a plain orange.

When I came back to the States and discovered that lo and behold we too had blood oranges, I started to stockpile, as much as I could, every winter when they’d come into season. I’d bring one to work every day. And am still finding more and more people that haven’t yet been introduced to this glorious fruit.

Alas, we’re talking about salad here. You know that b’stilla that we made? Well, a dish as buttery and rich as a phyllo chicken pie needs the freshest of salads. And since we were playing on the sweet note, this salad seemed like a great match. I’d made quick- pickled red onions once before, as a side to some fish tacos. They clearly left an impression. This salad pairs fresh, beautiful blood orange slices with pickled red onions that are drizzled with some olive oil and sprinkled with big chunks of gray sea salt. It’s not what you’d expect: the blood oranges’ sweetness is the perfect contrast to the tangy pickled red onions. The olive oil provides a warm, muted note, and the finishing bite of gray sea salt reminds you that as simple as this salad is to make, its flavors seem to belie complexity.

Blood oranges, while still relatively unknown to most of America, are starting to appear in grocery stores like Safeway and Trader Joe’s. They make fantastic orange juice, but be careful–they don’t lie about that ‘blood.’ Their juices stain.


Blood Orange and Red Onion Salad with Gray Sea Salt


Blood Orange and Red Onion Salad with Gray Sea Salt
adapted from Food & Wine Magazine
*serves 2-3

1/4 small red onion, sliced very thinly
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
sea salt and fresh pepper
4 medium blood oranges
2 tablespoons of good-quality extra-virgin olive oil
French Gray sea salt, to serve

1. In a small bowl, combine the red onion, vinegar, a few shakes of sea salt and sprinkling of pepper. Allow the onions to stand stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes before draining through a fine sieve.

2. Peel the oranges and then thinly slice them crosswise. Arrange the orange slices on a platter and toss the red onion evenly on top. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with some French gray sea salt and more fresh pepper.

Musical Pairings: Boards of Canada – Geogaddi + Blood Orange Salad

Today’s recipe on eating/sf is a blood orange and pickled onion salad with gray sea salt. It features sophisticated ingredients and strong flavors. It is tangy and citrus-y, but well balanced with the pickled onions and gray sea salt. Boards of Canada‘s 2002 IDM masterpiece, Geogaddi, is my choice for a pairing with this recipe because it is also sophisticated and balanced with strong textures and music. To read more, head over to Musical Pairings @ eating/sf. –Matthew

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Posted by Kasey

Kasey is the food editor and co-founder of Turntable Kitchen. She loves dark chocolate, warm crusty bread, and traveling to new places. She speaks Russian, but does not like vodka.

  • Everyone knows I hate oranges, but this is a salad I love. We used to get it at Caffe Ponte Vecchio back when it was still around. A small crumble of bleu or feta is very nice, too.

  • That looks divine! You've inspired me to stock up on some blood oranges.

  • Kasey

    Sean: blue cheese would be a perfect topper!Nicole: stock up! They don't stick around forever 🙂

  • Beautiful colors and a vibrant flavor for this salad. I'm definitely going to try this one out!

  • Kasey

    Jenny, thanks for stopping by! We can all use some color in the middle of winter 🙂

  • Saw this and made pickled red onions for the first time in a year. Thanks for the reminder! They're such an easy, impressive addition to salads.

  • Kasey

    Lindsey, I totally agree-they sound really intimidating but are in fact SO easy. They spice up everything in my house from salads to sandwiches, tacos to grilled meats.

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