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Comprised of various contrasting flavors and textures, this Bittersweet Blood Orange Salad will have you smiling with each harmonious bite. The bitter crunch of radicchio is offset by sweet segments of blood orange and creamy, fresh ricotta cheese. Tiny toasted pine nuts provide satisfying pops of sweet nuttiness while colorful pomegranate seeds offer a tart juiciness. The entire salad is finished with just a kiss of syrup made of blood orange juice, maple syrup and fragrant orange-flower water. This salad is truly an experience.
To make this salad more Valentine’s Day appropriate, I featured produce in various shades of red. Please use whatever color produce is available to you at your local grocery store or farmer’s market. Any bitter greens will work here and you could even substitute regular oranges for the blood variety. Continue reading for the recipe.
Bittersweet Blood Orange Salad
- 5 - 6 blood oranges (regular oranges are fine too)
- 1 1/4 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon orange-flower water*
- 1/2 small radicchio
- 2 handfulls red baby lettuce leaves**
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
- Red micro greens***
- 2 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
- Seeds from 1 small pomegranate
Start by supreming two of the blood oranges. To supreme a blood orange, cut off the top and bottom just until the pulp is exposed. Stand the blood orange up on one of the flat ends. Working from top to bottom, cut away the the peel and pith, following the curve of the fruit. Slice out each orange segment by cutting in towards the center of the fruit along the connective membranes. The segment should fall out on its own, but you can use your knife to help if needed. Repeat with remaining orange. Set aside segments.
Squeeze the juice from the remaining membrane into measuring cup. You will need a total of 7 tablespoons blood orange juice for the sauce. Juice the remaining blood oranges until you have the 7 tablespoons. Pour blood orange juice into a small saucepan. Add lemon juice, maple syrup and a small pinch of kosher salt, stirring to combine. Bring mixture to a light simmer and cook until reduced to 3 tablespoons of thick syrup (20 - 25 minutes). Pour the syrup through a fine mesh strainer into a clean bowl, let cool then stir in orange-flower water.
Pull apart the radicchio leaves then tear them large pieces. Add them to a large mixing bowl with 2 handfulls of red baby lettuce leaves. Toss gently with extra virgin olive oil, a small pinch of kosher salt and several turns of black pepper.
To serve, divide ricotta cheese between two salad plates. Next add the radicchio, baby lettuce leaves and blood orange segments. Top with toasted pine nuts, pomegranate seeds and red micro greens. Finish with a drizzle of the blood orange syrup.
*Orange-flower water can easily be found at Middle Eastern markets or online. The water not only adds an amazing fragrance and flavor, it also adds sweetness to the syrup. If you can't find this product, substitute in some honey or agave nectar to taste.
** I picked up a bag of mixed baby greens and pulled out all of the red ones for this salad. Costco also has a selection of heirloom lettuces with red colors.
*** Micro greens are readily available at Trader Joe's.