Looking for Something?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Salad Days, with the Other Orange

I clearly cannot get over the gorgeousness of the orange this year — and it's not even my favourite colour!

They do say it's the runaway top trend on the summer runways; but I'm better at wolfing it down than at wearing it. I'd use them to accessorize my snack bag, but I don't think I'll be seeing any fresh ones in summer around here!

Yes, I strive to eat mostly seasonal and local (smarter for my wallet too, because I can then buy more). But occasionally, I will buy just the one piece of exotic fruit that I can't get around here — at least not in good shape. So a couple of times a year, I actually buy an orange.

The 'real' thing, not the old mandarin. The South African import, that is. 

Between the air miles and Beverly Naidoo, it is never an entirely guilt-free purchase (much like making my peace with eating meat). Which means I tend to make the most-est of that one fruit when I bring it home.

No, a single snack will not do. It must first be zested at its freshest. Then I have to decide whether to put it in a tagine or add it to the roasting tin. Every so often, it gets baked into a big cake. However, when I find myself in a particularly self-indulgent mood, I make salad. (Serves two, naturally.) That's what happened last week.

This particular version was especially luxurious, because I'd bagged a bag of rocket at the supermarket — a very rare frond for these parts. Plus, I had hoarded a tiny tin of smoked sardines  — a treat from a working holiday (probably his?) — in the larder. 

Between the sardines packed in oil and the orange, it needed no dressing, no salt. I simply got tossing.

Rocket, Orange and Smoked Sardine Salad

1 orange
1 bag (about 200g, give or take a score) rocket leaves* 
~100g tin of smoked sardines**
Lots of freshly ground black pepper!
  1. Peel the orange — really, just take a paring knife and cut away the peel carefully. Segment it, cutting along the dividing lines of pith, over a bowl (to catch the juices). Squeeze the membranes left in your hand to get the last bit of juice — no wasting that jet fuel! The segments go into your salad bowl, of course.
  2. Wash and tear up the greens, if need be. Dump them over the the oranges.
  3. Drain the tin of sardines into the orange juice. Plop the fish into the salad bowl.
  4. Whisk the 'dressing' together and taste — if a tad too tart, add a drip of honey. Get your pepper in. Pour over the salad and stick your hands in there to toss (trust me, olive and orange oils are great for your skin!).
  5. Go out into the light and eat your sunny, peppery lunch.
*No rocket? No problem. Use whatever leaves you can get hold of and compensate with a pinch of chilli flakes or extra pepper.

**Any other smoked fish is great too. Of course, if you're using smokies or salmon, you'll need to add a couple of spoons of extra-virgin olive oil by way of dressing. Alternatively, a couple of anchovies would be lovely. Or smoked bacon strips, microwaved till crisp. Try smoked Bandel cheese, or maybe feta and walnuts, if you're vegetarian. 

No comments: