Winter in Sicily is all about the citrus; Oranges, lemons, grapefruit, kumquats, tangerines and citron. The entire island is covered with citrus trees filling the air with their intoxicating fragrance.
These winter fruits are perfect plucked right from the tree–no utensils needed. Of course, you may also turn them into marmalade and preserves, squeeze into juice, candy the peels and add to salads. Most of us think of oranges as a great source of vitamin C, but blood oranges contain up to forty percent more than other oranges.
Blood oranges also contain higher levels of anthocyanins (disease fighting antioxidants). It is these flavonoid pigments that give this citrus fruit its beautiful crimson color.
I’m not much of a juice drinker but ever since my friend Lucca presented me with a glass of freshly-squeezed blood orange juice, kissed with its raspberry-like flavor and scent, it’s a treat I look forward to each January. I am grateful that my local market carries a variety of blood orange grown in California, but nothing compares to the Arancia Rossa di Sicilia (red orange of Sicily).
This recipe is a twist on the classic Caprese salad. When the sun-drenched, vine-ripened tomatoes of summer are long gone, swap out the tomatoes and use oranges instead. You won’t be disappointed. If you don’t have blood oranges use navel or what is available. When I don’t have a blood orange olive oil, I use a mild extra-virgin (delicate).
- Blood Oranges, peeled
- Fresh mozzarella
- Blood orange olive oil or a delicate extra-virgin
- Balsamic vinegar
- Slice the oranges and mozzarella, arrange alternately (overlapping slightly) on a platter or individual plates.
- Drizzle with oil and vinegar.