Recipe: Winter salads


Summer may be synonymous with salad days, but winter salads can be a memorable blend of exotic flavours and contrasting textures if you pick your ingredients carefully. At this time of year, stick to citrus. As with any fruit, the best guarantee of flavour is a short maceration in a light sugar syrup. As the fruit soaks in the syrup, there is a magical exchange of flavours — oranges, for instance, develop an intensified taste, accented in this Moroccan-inspired salad with cinnamon and orange flower water (or rose water) and chopped pistachios. The California winter salad goes particularly well with cold meats and poultry.

Marrakesh Orange Salad

Serves 6. Serve freshly made. Leftovers keep two days in the refrigerator.

● 6 navel oranges
● 1 lemon, preferably unwaxed
● 125 g (4 oz) granulated sugar
● 2 tbsp orange flower water or rose water
● 1 cinnamon stick
● 2 tbsp shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped
● 1 ½ tbsp mint leaves, cut in strips (optional)

● Using a potato peeler, pare the rind of 1 orange and half the lemon. Put the rind in a small bowl and add the squeezed juice of the orange and the whole lemon.
● Put the sugar in a small pan with 4 tbsp water and the cinnamon stick. Bring slowly to the boil.
● Cook gently till the sugar has melted, then pour it over the rinds and juice. Leave to cool, then add orange flower water or rose water.
● Peel the rest of the oranges, using a small sharp knife, removing the white pith as well as the skin. Slice the oranges fairly thinly and lay them, overlapping, on a flat dish.
● Through a sieve, pour over the sweetened fruit juice and leave in a cool places until ready to serve.
● Shortly before serving, decorate with the chopped pistachios and mint (if used).

California Winter Salad

Serves 8-10. Leftovers keep up to two days in the refrigerator.

● 1 bag ready-to-serve curly endive or other crisp greens
● 1 fresh pineapple
● 1 romano red pepper, seeded and cut in julienne strips
● 2 navel oranges, peeled
● 50 g (2 oz) walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

For the dressing:
● 3 tbsp mayonnaise
● 5 tbsp sunflower oil
● 1 tbsp walnut oil
● 3 tbsp lemon juice
● 3 teasp soft light brown sugar
● 1/4 teasp paprika

● Make the dressing by putting all the ingredients (except the mayonnaise) with ½ teasp salt in a large screw top jar and shaking until creamy.
● Separate the endive into small sprigs, then drain and dry.
● Peel the pineapple, cut it lengthways into four, then cut out and discard the core and slice into fingers 5 x 2.5 x 1 cm (2 x 1 x 3/8 in) thick.
● Segment the oranges by cutting between the membranes.
● In a large bowl combine the endive, pineapple, pepper, oranges and nuts. In a small bowl blend the vinaigrette and the mayonnaise, then pour over the salad.
● Toss lightly. Leave for an hour then pile into a bowl and serve.

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