One of the best decisions my husband and I ever made was to pass on the big extravagant wedding and get married in the San Diego Courthouse. For one, I absolutely hate being the center of attention and would have probably blacked out. Two, while I love to plan the crap out of my own life, I really don't enjoy organizing other people-- which is a lot of what big weddings tend to boil down to. Finally, and most importantly, we wanted to spend our money on really good food and wine with family and close friends. And we wanted an awesome honeymoon. What actually happened on that awesome honeymoon, involving mountain bikes and the ER, is a story for another time. Today, the focus is on the part about really good food.
We had our wedding night dinner at a gorgeous family style, coastal Italian restaurant in La Jolla. The wine and food came in course after course, from bubbily Franciacorta and giant egg yolk raviolone to Mt. Etna's Nerello Mascalese and braised beef meatballs. But the citrus salad is the the dish I haven't been able to shake. I've searched on and off for two years for similar recipes, but it wasn't until walking past gorgeous winter oranges at the farmer's market that I decided to take matters into my own hands. I wrote this recipe based off of my memory, taste, and a small picture of the menu from that night. This salad is the real deal. The combination of flavors is unique yet incredibly coherent and balanced-- and you'll feel as if you're on the Sicilian coast yourself. Think bright, juicy oranges, briny olives, fresh parsley and the nutty crunch of pistachios. .
sicilian citrus salad
serves 6 | inspired by Catania in San Diego
1 small shallot, minced (about 2 tbsp)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
salt and freshly ground pepper
7 oranges, a mix of what looks good (Cara Cara, Navel, Blood, Valencia, etc)
12 castelvetrano olives, pitted and finely chopped
1/3 cup pistachios, shelled and chopped (about 3 tbsp)
6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
chopped parsley, for garnish
In a small bowl, combine the shallot with the vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature while you prepare the rest of the salad.
Using a sharp knife (serrated works great here), peel all of the citrus. First, cut off a thin piece from the top and bottom of the orange so it can sit flat on the cutting board. Then, cutting from top to bottom and following the curve of the fruit, remove the peel and white pith. Slice the oranges about 1/4” thick, remove seeds and arrange on a platter. For the grapefruit, cut into segments and pile on top of oranges.
Drain the shallots, reserving 2 tbsp of the red wine vinegar, and scatter over the citrus slices along with the olives and pistachios.
Whisk together the reserved vinegar and olive oil. Taste and adjust with more vinegar, olive oil, salt and/ or pepper if needed. Drizzle half of the dressing evenly over the salad, garnish with parsley and serve with remaining dressing on the side.