Orange and Radish Salad with Pistachios
Orange and Radish Salad with Pistachios
My husband and I decided to have an after the holidays, catch up-get together with our neighbors (also a good excuse for me to stretch my culinary muscles and cook for other people.) Since we had just had a couple of months of heavy, traditional eating, I thought it might be nice to do a sort of Mediterranean mezze theme. I picked this to serve as a colorful, somewhat acidic accompaniment to some fattier dishes. It worked like a charm. I was not able to get blood oranges, so substituted Cara Cara navels instead along with regular navels. Both were juicy and bright with the former kind of having a pink grapefruit color. I used a couple types of radish along with the daikon and subbed in walnut oil for the pistachio. It was a beautiful counterpoint to the lamb meatballs, hummus, and feta dishes. If radishes have a bit too much bite to them for you, I found that sitting in the marinade really calmed things down, so don’t be afraid to give this gorgeous salad a try.
- 2 blood oranges (about 1/2 pound)
- 2 medium navel oranges(about 1 pound)
- Fleur de sel or coarse sea salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint, plus more for garnish
- 6 ounces radishes (about 1 cup sliced)
- 4 ounces daikon radish (about 1/3 daikon)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon agave nectar
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon, or more to taste
- Pinch cayenne
- 2 tablespoons roasted pistachio oil
- ¼ cup lightly toasted unsalted pistachios (about 1 ounce)
- Remove orange peels: Cut off both ends of the oranges. Stand them up on the cut side and remove the rest of the peel and pith by cutting away strips; move your knife down the sides of the orange from top to bottom. Use a cutting board with a canal for catching juices, and cut oranges, crosswise, into rounds. Place in a bowl and tip in juices. Add fleur de sel and chopped mint, and toss together.
- Slice radishes and daikon as thin as you can. (Use a mandolin or a Japanese slicer if you have one.) Place in separate bowl and sprinkle with fleur de sel.
- Whisk together lemon juice, agave, cinnamon, cayenne and pistachio oil. Divide evenly among the two bowls with oranges and radishes, and toss.
- Use a slotted spoon to lift oranges from juices that accumulate in bowl and arrange, with radishes, on a platter or plates. Just before serving, spoon on the juices and dressing left behind in bowl, and top with pistachios and mint.
Before I put this salad together, I could imagine how it would feel and taste in my mouth: the juicy, sweet oranges playing against the crisp, pungent radishes. The combination was inspired by an orange, radish and carrot salad in Sally Butcher’s charming book “Salmagundi: A Celebration of Salads From Around the World.”
The salad is a showcase for citrus, which is in season in California. Navels are particularly good right now, both the regular variety and the darker pink-fleshed Cara Cara oranges that taste like a cross between an orange and a pink grapefruit. I fell in love with blood oranges when I lived in Paris years ago, and although the Moro variety that we get in the United States doesn’t have quite as intense a red-berry flavor as the Mediterranean fruit, its color is hard to resist.
Here I use a combination of blood oranges and navels, and a beautiful mix of red and purple radishes and daikon. Dress this bright mixture with roasted pistachio oil, which has a mild nutty flavor that marries beautifully with the citrus.
Put the prepared oranges and radishes in separate bowls and use a slotted spoon to remove the orange slices from the juices. Just before serving, arrange the oranges and radishes on a platter or on plates, spoon on the dressing and juices, and sprinkle with pistachios. You can also layer the elements, undressed, and pour on the liquids right before serving.
For a juicier version, skip the slotted spoon and toss all of the ingredients together for a quenching salad that is best served in bowls.