Winter in California means one thing to me: citrus season. Well, okay, two things: a respite from the blazing heat of the valley, and citrus season.
But really, the two go hand in hand. For so much of my life I associated citrus with hot weather. Sweet and tangy, refreshing lemons, limes and oranges make their way into so many summer beverages and ice pops. But I was shocked my first winter in Los Angeles, when the farmer's market began to overflow with dozens of types of citrus near the end of January and into February. I literally had no idea that there were so many types of tangerines, or oranges, and even grapefruit, in existence.
Now, along with the cooler weather, fresh citrus is the thing I look forward to most during the SoCal winter. Lately Nate and I have been getting a sack of 20+ little seedless satsumas at the market each week - they're about the size of a golf ball, the perfect balance of sweet and sour, and make for a perfect on-the-go snack. But my most beloved citrus is the Meyer lemon and the blood orange, two fruits so hard to get a hold of when I lived in New England that I had never actually tasted either until my first winter in California.
This simple salad, made with rounds of blood orange, Meyer lemon and navel orange, is the perfect way to highlight the best of in-season citrus. A sprinkle of crunchy sea salt, a dash of freshly cracked black pepper, a splash of sherry vinegar and a drizzle of olive oil are all you need to bring out the best of the fruit at its peak of freshness, and a minty garnish adds an intriguing herbal note. Even though it may be cloudy and slightly chilly outside, the bright colors and flavors in this salad are the perfect way to keep your spirits bright.
Blood Orange and Meyer Lemon Salad with Sherry VinegarIngredients:
1 Navel orange, peeled and sliced horizontally
2 Blood oranges, peeled and sliced horizontally
1 Small Meyer lemon, peeled and sliced horizontally
1/2 Tsp orange zest
1/2 Tsp Meyer lemon zest
A few sprigs of mint
A sprinkle of Celtic sea salt (or other large-grained sea salt)
A dash of freshly cracked black pepper
A splash of sherry vinegar
A drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil
1. Arrange sliced citrus and mint leaves on a plate. Sprinkle with orange and Meyer lemon zest.
2. Drizzle with sherry vinegar and olive oil. Add sea salt and pepper.
3. Enjoy while looking out the window and relishing in winter, or dreaming of summer sunshine.