One-Minute Sicilian Blood Orange Salad

January 27, 2010

Picture endless groves so laden with blood oranges that the orbs fall with abandon, rolling around in flowering fields and bouncing onto roadways. Fiats and Ferraris roar by, mashing the ruby-red flesh to a bloody pulp.

That’s what it’s like around Catania this time of year. Etna smokes away in the distance, aloof to the carnage at her feet.

Sicilian oranges

I was surprised the first time I saw what Sicilians do with their luscious blood oranges (besides squashing them on highways). They mix them up with onions and call it a salad!

Bloord Oranges, Onions, Oil

This is all you need for blood orange salad: blood oranges, onions, and a good olive oil. (I found these California blood oranges at Whole Foods.)

Peel the oranges, getting rid of as much of the white pith as you can. Slice them, sprinkle with onions, a good olive oil, and course black pepper, and voilà, you’ve got the quintessential Sicilian salad.

Sicilian blood orange salad

California blood oranges can’t quite compare with the Sicilian varieties (Sanguigno, Tarocco and Moro), but they’re still pretty good. Substitute thin slices of red onion for spring onions if you prefer.

Hanging onions on green door

What do you think? Let me know if you try it. Do you have another favorite recipe with blood oranges?


Suzette Hodges has written me to share her blood orange recipe. Thanks, Suzette!

Here’s a wonderful salad using blood red oranges:

Dice up one blood red orange (large pieces); sliver 1/2 red onion (or any type onion); chop some figs (as much or little as you like); crumble goat cheese; top a plate with spring greens; add each of the ingredients atop the salad, as much or little as you like; drizzle and olive oil/mustard dressing over all. Delicious!!!

11 comments to One-Minute Sicilian Blood Orange Salad

  • In case you would like to try this amazing dessert treat:
    Fresh Oranges With Spiced Red Wine Syrup
    (Bon Appétit | January 2004)

    1 750-ml bottle dry red wine such as Spanish Ribera del Duero
    1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
    1 cinnamon stick, broken in half

    8 oranges

    Bring wine, 1 cup sugar, and cinnamon to boil in large saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves.
    Boil until reduced to 1 cup, about 18 minutes. Cool syrup completely. Cover and chill until cold. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.)

    Finely grate peel from 2 oranges.
    Mix peel and 1 tablespoon sugar in small bowl. Using small sharp knife, cut off peel and white pith from all oranges.

  • Giovanna Bellia La Marca

    Hi Jann,
    The first time I made orange salad for my half Irish husband, Howard, and he saw me sprinkle salt and drizzle olive oil in what he thought was fruit salad for dessert he was aghast. But, being adventurous and also a good sport, he tried it at my insistence, and loved it immediately. I make it with sliced celery or fennel (no onion) and I dress it with salt, ground peperoncino and good extra virgin olive oil the way my nonna Concettina taught me when I was growing up in Ragusa.
    I enjoy your frequent stories, anecdotes and musings.
    Grazie tanto. Ciao, Giovanna

    • jann

      Ciao Giovanna,
      Thank you so much for this variation on Sicilian blood orange salad. I’d like to tell readers that you’re an amazing cook of all things Sicilian and that you’ve compiled your recipes in Sicilian Feasts–a book with do-able, luscious recipes that I highly recommend. Jann

  • Margo Chavez

    Yum! Something I will definitely try! And the photos make them look even yummier.

  • Bob & Marianne McNamara

    We are looking forward to buying due cassette of blood oranges when we arrive in a few weeks and preparing them in salads, juice, and for dessert with a red wine reduction…..

  • Josephine Lissandrello

    My mother-in-law used to add sun-dried tomatoes to this salad. The Sicilian sun-dried tomatoes are sooooooo good.

  • George Abbott

    Just squeeze them and drink the nectar….

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