People who know me would tell you that it's hard to tell which I like more: gardening or cooking. I'd say it depends on which I'm doing at the moment. Anyway, French cooking and French gardening go hand in hand. For me, cooking is an on-going adventure. Join me here on my culinary explorations, where I share with you both my old favorites as well as new inspirations. It's my fondest wish that these recipes serve as a springboard for your own new creations.
orange salad from Syracuse
To serve 4:
6-8 big oranges, organic or Sicilian if possible
1/3 c. Extra virgin olive oil
3 fresh "bulb" onions or scallions, white parts only, sliced lengthwise into thin wisps
2-3 tsp. dried wild oregano, Sicilian if possible, crumbled
1/2 c. chopped fresh mint, the bright green, crinkled (Moroccan) variety and not spearmint
20-25 large juicy black olives, Sicilian or Greek, rinsed
20 giant capers, rinsed, with their stems
pinches of sea salt
Prepare the oranges. Over a bowl to catch juices, use a sharp knife to peel in a spiral, cutting just below the membrane around the flesh. Now, if you have Sicilian oranges, you can simply slice them, membranes and all, as their membranes are very tender. All other oranges, cut down each side of the membranes around the sections, creating skin-free sections. Squeeze all the juice from peels and membranes into the bowl.
Add all other ingredients, going easy on the salt as the olives and capers are both salty. Toss gently and serve, making sure each person gets a nice assortment of olives and capers.
Note: This refreshing and original salad is a classic in Syracuse, an ancient Baroque city on the coast of southern Sicily. It is less strong-tasting than the Moroccan salad which uses sliced dry onions--much lighter and even thirst-quenching. Time to prepare: around 15 minutes, less if you don't section the oranges.