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Orange Salad with Fresh Orange-Smoked Paprika Vinaigrette, Iced Onions, and Cilantro

(recipe, Martha Holmberg)


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Introduction

Look for an interesting orange variety for this salad, such as Cara Cara (which has a lovely pink blush) or blood oranges (which are a deep magenta inside). If you're not a cilantro fan (I've heard that there are some of you out there), basil or parsley would work fine. Soaking the onion is a trick I learned at my one and only restaurant kitchen job, and a fine trick it is. It reduces the bite of raw onion and makes it crunchy and almost translucent. This salad is good alongside anything from the grill, but it goes especially well with grilled steak. It also makes a nice last course if you don't want a sweet dessert.

Ingredients

  1. ⅛ small red onion, sliced paper-thin
  2. 3 juicy oranges, such as blood or Cara Cara or other navel
  3. ½ cup Fresh Orange-Smoked Paprika Vinaigrette
  4. 2 Tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, or whole cilantro leaves

Steps

  1. In a small bowl, combine the onion slices with ice water to cover for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, working with one orange at a time, cut a slice off each end to reveal the flesh. Stand the orange on a sliced flat end on a work surface. Using a sharp knife, slice away the peel, including all of the white pith, cutting from the top to the bottom and following the contour of the fruit. Take your time and work in wide strips. Turn the peeled orange on its side and cut crosswise into rounds ¼-inch thick. Repeat with remaining two oranges.
  3. Put the vinaigrette in a wide, shallow bowl, add the orange slices, and toss gently to coat. Arrange the oranges on a serving plate, overlapping them slightly. Pour any extra vinaigrette and juices from the bowl into a small pitcher for serving on the side.
  4. Drain the onion slices and pat thoroughly dry with paper towels. Scatter the onion over the oranges, then sprinkle with the cilantro. You can prepare the salad as much as 4 hours ahead and refrigerate it, though don't add the cilantro until just before serving. This salad is not at its best when ice-cold, however, so take it out of the refrigerator at least 20 minutes before serving.