Albeit a bit late, but winter is finally here. Last week however, it felt like summer, and I wanted to make a dish that was suitable for the warmer weather but used seasonal winter ingredients. Enter cara cara oranges. This red fleshed navel orange is sweet and complex in flavor, and low in acid, which makes it perfect for salads with subtly acidic dressings.
The original inspiration is from Seattle chef Matt Dillon, but I've altered his recipe as I found it a bit unbalanced. The result is a sweet and crisp winter salad with peppery arugula, creamy feta cheese, and crunchy roasted almonds.
I suggest using Marash pepper, a naturally oily Turkish red pepper flake that is fruity and musty in flavor. If you can't find Marash, feel free to use regular crushed red pepper flakes which are slightly spicier and less complex.
MARINATED FETA AND CARA CARA SALAD
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon anise seeds
- 1/4 cup whole almonds
- 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon Marash pepper
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 3 ounces sheep's milk feta, crumbled
- 1/3 cup parsley leaves, chopped
- 1/3 cup oregano leaves, chopped
- 2 cara cara oranges
- 5 ounces arugula
Toast the coriander and anise seeds in a dry pan over medium heat for a couple of minutes until fragrant. Transfer the seeds to a mortar and pestle, and roughly crush. Set aside. Repeat the toasting process with the almonds and let cool. Coarsely chop the nuts and set aside.
Whisk the oil and vinegar together, then add the seeds, nuts, Marash and salt. Gently toss in the feta cheese and herbs, and let marinate.
Meanwhile, remove the pith and peel from the oranges by slicing off the top and bottom of the fruits to expose the flesh. Set the oranges on an exposed end, and follow the contour of the fruit with your knife from top to bottom to remove the pith and peel. Then slice each orange horizontally.
Arrange the orange slices on a serving platter and pile the arugula on top. Spoon the feta mixture on top, and pour as much marinade over the salad as desired.