Along with plenty of vegetables, it is good to get some fruit in our diets as well. With this in mind I ordered a small fruit and veg box. I was most excited about the blood oranges, as I love them. They are such a beautiful colour and less acidic than their more common cousins. They are particularly high in antioxidants and of course vitamin C too, which is always important in the winter. In my box I also had red onions and avocados and I set about inventing a salad which could combine the three. Avocados are delicious on their own but a little acidity really make them sing. Usually we opt for tomatoes but I thought blood oranges would make a seasonal change. The onion marinated in the orange juice adds a hint of sweet and sour and the almonds add texture and fragrance. All in all, I was pretty pleased with my winter salad.
Roast Blood Orange, Avocado and Toasted Almond Salad
Baking citrus at a high heat caramelizes the sugars and adds depth and interest.
1 blood or Valencia orange, sliced as thin as you can, leaving an inch at each end, seeds removed
Extra Virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ small red onion, thinly sliced
Salad leaves mixed with watercress and rocket
A few leaves of fresh herbs – mint, coriander or basil
1 avocado, cut into slices
A handful of un-blanched almonds
Preheat oven to 425°. Toss the orange slices with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper and lay out the orange slices. Roast in the oven until just starting to caramelize, 10–15 minutes. Keep an eye on them as the sugar content means they can easily burn. Toss the almonds with a little oil and roast them in the oven as well for about 8 minutes until light brown and beginning to make a popping noise. Remove and toss with a little salt. Leave to cool.
Meanwhile, squeeze the juice from the two ends of the orange and combine with the onion in a bowl; season with salt and pepper and let sit 5 minutes (onion will soften a bit and get slightly sweeter and less harsh). Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Season to taste.
Add the blood orange slices to the bowl with the onion along with the salad leaves and herbs. Arrange on plates and top with avocado slices and toasted almonds.