A salad is a salad is a salad, right? Wrong. There are so many possibilities beyond the ubiquitous mixture of greens and veggies topped too often with a bland dressing of some sort! Salads really deserve more of a chance at center stage or at least a great supporting role, instead of a mere walk-on part.
I nominate this orange and onion salad for an award for best supporting role. This orange and onion salad comes from The Splendid Table's "How to Eat Weekends" cookbook. (A great follow up to "How to Eat Weeknights" by the way; since my teaching gig is stealing my more leisurely week nights, it's weekend cooking for me now!)
Lately, I've been collecting spices and herbs the same way I've always collected cookbooks, as in, close to hoarding them. I was delighted that my hoarding of coriander seeds was not for naught. I had a ball crushing them the good old fashioned way, with a mortar and pestle.I altered the recipe only slightly -- because my onion rings collapsed, I rough chopped them.
Soaking the onions in ice water does indeed cut down on the sharpness of them, letting the pure crispness and flavor come through. I've also heard that soaking in milk does the same thing -- maybe even better. Anyone tried that?
Orange and Onion Salad with Warm Coriander Oil
from The Splendid Table How to Eat Weekends
3/4 small to medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 cup good tasting extra virgin olive oil
2 generous tablespoons coriander seed, freshly ground
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
10 to 12 navel oranges, (4-5 pounds), peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch thin rounds
1/2 cup good tasting black olives
Generous amount of freshly ground black pepper
4 to 6 teaspoons sugar
Fill a medium bowl halfway with ice cubes, add the sliced onions and top with more ice cubes. Add cold water to cover and refrigerate for a couple hours or overnight. Drain the onions and pat dry with a towel before assembling the salad.
In a microwave safe bowl, combine the oil, coriander and orange zest. Microwave on high power for 1 minute or warn in a saucepan over medium heat for 2 minutes. Let cool.
To serve, arrange the orange slices with the onion rings on a platter. Scatter the olives and the oil. Finish with salt, pepper and sugar to taste.