Sicilian Christmas Salad

Serves: 4 to 6

4 large oranges, peels removed and sliced into rounds
If available, use half Blood oranges, half Navel – Cara Cara oranges may also be used
1 bulb of fennel, cut julienne style
1 medium red onion, cut into thin slices
1 cup green Italian or Greek olives, pitted if available
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil for drizzling (use best quality you can find)
2-3 small bunches fresh mint, cut Chiffonade style
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cut the top and bottom off of each orange, then stand the orange up on a cutting board. Use a serrated or very sharp knife to remove the peel by gently cutting down the length of the orange, making sure to follow the curve of the orange. Leave no white pulp on the fruit.

Once the peel and pulp have been removed, lay the orange lengthwise on the cutting board, and cut into round slices, about ¼-inch thick.

To prepare the fennel, cut the stalk off and use only the bulb. Cut off the base of the bulb and peel the outer layers. Cut the fennel bulb lengthwise into ¼ inch strips.

On a serving plate or individual plates, begin by layering the orange rounds, alternating between the red and orange slices, then evenly distribute the fennel, red onion, and mint. Randomly place the green olives around the salad for added color. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the entire salad. Serve and enjoy!

Tony’s Tip: You can prepare the orange rounds a day in advance and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

1 Response

  1. PamelaM

    Hi Sarah, Tony and Gio, I must say OUTSTANDING!
    I love this salad so much that I have to share a story. After a number of years of dealing with a health issue, I have made many leaps and changes in my approach to food. Never an unhealthy eater according to the FDA, I have found that what is healthy for one person may be really bad for me. I approach all baked goods, processed and white foods with caution and only on rare occasions if at all. Being a two time per week Ciabatta and Sourdough bread baker made this interesting.

    In the last few years I have totally made over all of my holiday menus and alternatives to my menus. I am finding Thanksgiving to be the hardest to make over. I have given up most of my Southern and Mexican cooking for more of the Middle Eastern and Italian dishes I love. This lead me to a new passion, Christmas Salads. I have 3 staples as my Christmas Salads at the moment and this one just gave me another variation, as I add to my list.

    One of my salads I call Paradisi Sol. It is similar to your Sicilian Christmas Salad and highlights the best of Texas produce. I am a Texan, but now live in Michigan. Paradisi, is Latin for grapefruit. I prepare and overlap in rings, just as you have, Texas Ruby Red or Rio Star Grapefruit, Naval or Cara Cara Oranges, Blood Oranges, Tangerine or Mandarin or Clementine, Hass Avocado slices and top with slivers of Red Onion and Fennel Bulb, Chiffonade of Thai Basil, a spritz of Lime juice and a little cracked Pink Peppercorns and Pink Salt. Never have I thought of olives and being an olive lover, I love this.

    My other two Christmas Salad Staples are a great large overlapped Caprese Salad double ring with thin slices of hard dry salami and oil cure black olives in the center with anchovy wrapped capers around the outside and a light drizzle of lemon shallot vinaigrette, also served with a dish of roasted or grilled Italian vegetables. And the last one is a large double ring of overlapped slices of Sweet Persimmon, like Fuyu with the center filled with Pomegranate Arils that have been tossed with chiffonade of fresh Mint, no dressing needed. I call this one Bruma Sol.

    These accompanied by a few good cheeses; an assortment of olives; Prosciutto de Parma; what I call BCT Linguini Carbonara (bacon, corn, sundried tomato and garlic with the noodles of brown rice and sesame) and Ricotta Gnocchi with browned butter, sausage, sage, pumpkin, mushrooms, pinenuts and pepper; Sauteed Greens; Spiced Tongue or Delmonico Roast; Roast Duck or Pheasant; Pan Grilled Trout with herbs and lemon; Almond Torte; Amaretti Cookies; Candied Chestnuts, Hazelnuts, and Orange Rind dipped in Dark Chocolate; and an amazing Panforte, Prosecco and a favorite local spiced red wine called Witches Brew, is quickly growing on me as my favorite holiday menu, and it is gluten-free. With all of this goodness and six times fewer carbs than the usual menu, no one would ever complain about changing tradition. All they really want is good food that feels and looks special.

    Sorry for the long post. I have been so excited to tell someone my new Christmas menu. I have been tweaking it for 3 years so far. I love developing it! My friends just look at me with crossed-eyes if I talk food LOL. I have not been so enthused about a gluten-free Christmas this year, but after really looking over your blog and restaurant site, I have a renewed spirit and feel confident I will get back to what is good and good for me. Thank You for doing what you do!

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