We served an interesting salad in our hospital cafeteria the other day that featured a fruit that was not your typical selection. The fruit was a variety of orange called a Blood orange and it has a distinctive look when you cut it open and see the deep red or crimson colored flesh. The blood orange's red pigment is an anthocyanin and it is an antioxidant.
Antioxidants are found in many red and purple fruits and vegetables and are known to have heart health protective qualities. Blood oranges have greater amounts of these antioxidants than regular oranges do, and they have a unique flavor as well; a sweet flavor with a hint of raspberry. Blood oranges are cultivated in the United States and are in season from December to March in Texas and from November to May in California. The anthocyanins develop when temperatures are low at night.
Blood oranges, and regular oranges, are fat free, cholesterol free, low in sodium and an excellent source of Vitamin C. One medium orange contains about 80 calories.
Following is the recipe for the salad that Chef Chad prepared in our cafeteria.
5 oz. fresh spinach
5 oz. fresh baby spinach
4 Blood Oranges (Moro), segmented
4 oz Prosciutto (Italian cured ham)
1 bundle (10-12 spears) asparagus, trimmed and roasted in 1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup dried, tart cherries
6 pieces marble rye bread (toasted and made into croutons)
Toss above listed ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Mix together ingredients listed below for vinaigrette dressing.
Citrus vinaigrette dressing
1 lime, squeezed
1/2 cup juice squeezed from blood oranges
1/2 cup juice squeezed from fresh grapefruits
1 cup orange juice
4 oz pineapple juice
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 cups of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 Kosher salt (to taste)
Emulsify the oil into the juice mixture. Season with salt. Pour onto salad and toss lightly to distribute dressing.
Chef Chad notes that the blood oranges give the salad a distinctive color and flavor. In addition, the fruit and fruit juice is a healthy alternative to a mayonnaise-based salad dressing. I hope you enjoy it as much as our cafeteria customers did!