Blood oranges are in season for just a few months of the year. Use them while you can! Here’s a simple Blood Orange Salad that lets this strikingly coloured fruit shine, both visually and flavour-wise. Shaved fennel provides a neutral salad base, while the juice from the oranges becomes part of the dressing.
This salad is refreshing, a little different and deliciously pretty!
Blood Orange Salad
Here’s a simple, blood orange salad that’s all about the blood oranges. It’s simple and straightforward, with no unnecessary bells and whistles, making it quick and fuss-free to put together. With produce this stunning, it’s the only way!
What are blood oranges, exactly? They look like ordinary oranges on the outside, though sometimes the skin has a red blush. But there’s a surprise inside! When you cut them open, the juicy flesh is blood red. Hence the name!
Blood oranges taste like oranges, with a hint of grapefruit. They have a slightly more bitter edge compared to ordinary oranges, but are sweeter than grapefruits.
The colour of the flesh varies as there are a few varieties. You can see in the photo at the top that the blood oranges vary from a dark crimson to vibrant orange-red hues.
It doesn’t matter what shade they are. They’re all stunning! 🙂
What you need for this Blood Orange Salad
Here’s what goes in this Blood Orange Salad.
Blood oranges – As noted above, the shade of the flesh varies. It really doesn’t matter what colour you get! As long as the oranges are fresh and juicy!
Fennel – A classic Italian pairing with blood oranges, this crispy, aniseed-flavoured vegetable becomes is very mild in taste when thinly shaven like in this recipe. This makes it an ideal base for any salad where you want another ingredient to shine – in this case, the blood oranges.
The other reason I like fennel for this salad is because it is white. It contrasts beautifully against the vibrant coloured flesh of the blood oranges!
For extra fennel flavour, reserve the fonds (the little leafy green bits) and sprinkle them on the salad. They’re perfectly edible and very similar to dill.
Tip: Keep shaved fennel perky in ice water. When you’re ready to assemble, drain and use a salad spinner to dry.
Red onion – For a little kick in the salad. I like to shave them thinly and pickle them lightly so they go a bit soft, rather than having stiff, raw onion sprigs littered throughout. 🙂
Parsley – This is mainly for visual appeal and also a touch of fresh flavour.
White wine vinegar – This is a milder vinegar that works well for the dual purpose of pickling the onion as well as making the dressing for this salad.
Sugar – This is for pickling the onion. It speeds up the process as well as taking the raw edge off the onion.
Extra virgin olive oil – As with any salad, the better the quality, the better the salad. Hence why even the simplest salads at top end restaurants taste so good!
Quick pickled red onion. I use the pickling vinegar to make the dressing. Dressing made using Blood Orange Juice. Why waste the free flavour??
The amount of actual vinaigrette used is small because the juice from the blood oranges that leaches out naturally is essentially supposed to play as much a part as a dressing.
Having said that, I couldn’t resist making use of some of the blood orange juice in the dressing itself. I drizzle this vibrant-coloured liquid over the assembled dish just before serving, mainly on the oranges. You can toss the whole salad with the Blood Orange Dressing if you want, but it will discolour the fennel a bit. The extent is dependent on how red your blood oranges are.
What do serve with Blood Orange Salad
Being a cold weather salad (because blood oranges are in season in winter and early spring!), try this alongside warming roasts. I think it would be particularly good with a roast chicken, a slow roasted pork belly with crispy crackling or a slow roasted pork shoulder – also with crackling!
I’d love to know what you serve this with if you try it! Remember, blood oranges are at their best for such a short period of time. Make it now! 🙂 – Nagi x
Blood Orange Salad
- 1/4 red onion , finely sliced or shaved using mandolin 1 mm thick (~1/2 cup)
- 1/2 tsp white sugar
- 6 tbsp white wine vinegar (for pickling and dressing)
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 tsp kosher / cooking salt (Note 3)
- 1/8 tsp pepper
- 3 blood oranges (Note 1)
- 1 fennel , medium, finely sliced or shaved using mandolin 1 mm (4 packed cups, Note 2)
- 1/4 cup parsley leaves
- Lightly pickle onion: Mix sugar and vinegar, then add onion and set aside for 15 minutes to lightly pickle (vinegar should just about cover onion). Drain, reserve pickling vinegar.
- Slice oranges, reserve juice: Cut rind from oranges, then slice into rounds. Reserve all juice on cutting board – you want around 2 teaspoons (if you’re short, sacrifice a slice or two).
- Blood Orange Drizzle Dressing: Measure out 2 tsp pickling vinegar, shake/whisk with the reserved 2 tsp juice, 2 tbsp EVOO with a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Lightly dress fennel: Toss fennel in 1 tbsp onion pickling juice, remaining 2 tbsp olive oil, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper.
- Assembling: Place 1/2 orange rounds on plate. Pile over 2/3 the fennel, litter with onion, parsley, place half remaining orange slices on top. Top with remaining fennel, oranges then onion. Sprinkle with parsley leaves. Just before serving, drizzle over the Blood Orange Dressing, mainly on the oranges so it doesn’t stain the fennel too much. Serve immediately!
Life of Dozer
Double trouble! Dozer with this friend Turner. 🐶🐶 (Dozer left, Turner on the right!)