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A colorful, flavorful salad with Sicilian inspiration

| Saturday, May 4, 2013, 6:13 p.m.
Leela Cyd Ross
Sicilian-Inspired Blood Orange Salad

My parents visited Sicily last fall (lucky dogs!) and brought back a wonderful recipe to accompany any main dish at dinner. I've riffed on the combination of blood oranges, mint and red onion, and added my own spin. The results? Shockingly good in color and in flavor.

For me, the perfect salad is crucial to any supper. The lighter notes can take center stage as the base of the meal, or they can play in contrast to something heavier. I'm constantly searching for a slight variation in greens, fruits, nuts and seeds. This blood-orange salad takes all of my favorite ingredients and throws them into an unapologetic, vibrant dish that will tickle the taste buds and delight your visual sensibility. It's almost too pretty to eat. Almost.

This recipe relies heavily on the quality of all the fresh ingredients, so be sure to have the freshest citrus and pistachios and a small bit of sheep's milk feta (or whatever soft cheese you prefer) to punctuate each bite. There's nothing worse than finding your pistachios have gone soft from being in the cupboard too long. So, be sure to start with the best of the best, and enjoy this salad.

Leela Cyd Ross is a writer for TheKitchn.com, a blog for people who love food and home cooking.

Sicilian-Inspired Blood Orange Salad

For the salad:

3 Cara Cara oranges, cut into segments

6 blood oranges, cut into segments

14 large red onion, cut as thinly as possible

13 cup pistachios, lightly crushed

1 bunch mint, julienned and a few leaves torn

14 cup sheep's milk feta

For the dressing:

14 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon cumin seeds

14 cup red-wine vinegar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Assemble all the citrus segments in a large bowl, and mix in the onions. Set it aside.

In a small skillet, heat the olive oil on medium-high. Add the cumin seeds and cook until the seeds pop slightly and a lovely fragrance emits from the pan. Add the vinegar and swirl the pan to mix it. Season with salt and pepper and toss over the citrus. Mix in the pistachios. When plating, add the mint and feta to the tops of each portion.

Makes 4 servings.

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