Before I put this salad together, I could imagine how it would feel and taste in my mouth: the juicy, sweet oranges playing against the crisp, pungent radishes. The combination was inspired by an orange, radish and carrot salad in Sally Butcher's charming book "Salmagundi: A Celebration of Salads From Around the World."
The salad is a showcase for citrus, which is in season. Navels are particularly good right now, both the regular variety and the darker pink-fleshed Cara Cara oranges that taste like a cross between an orange and a pink grapefruit. I fell in love with blood oranges when I lived in Paris years ago, and although the Moro variety that we get in the United States doesn't have quite as intense a red-berry flavor as the Mediterranean fruit, its color is hard to resist.
Here I use a combination of blood oranges and navels, and a beautiful mix of red and purple radishes and daikon. Dress this bright mixture with roasted pistachio oil, which has a mild nutty flavor that marries beautifully with the citrus.
Put the prepared oranges and radishes in separate bowls and use a slotted spoon to remove the orange slices from the juices. Just before serving, arrange the oranges and radishes on a platter or on plates, spoon on the dressing and juices, and sprinkle with pistachios. You can also layer the elements, undressed, and pour on the liquids right before serving.
For a juicier version, skip the slotted spoon and toss all of the ingredients together for a quenching salad that is best served in bowls.
Orange and Radish Salad With Pistachios
Time: 30 minutes
2 blood oranges (about 1/2 pound)
2 medium navel oranges (about 1 pound)
Fleur de sel or coarse sea salt to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint, plus more for garnish
6 ounces radishes (about 1 cup sliced)
4 ounces daikon radish (about 1/3 daikon)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon agave nectar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or more to taste
2 tablespoons roasted pistachio oil
1/4 cup lightly toasted unsalted pistachios (about 1 ounce)
1. Remove orange peels: Cut off both ends of the oranges. Stand them up on the cut side and remove the rest of the peel and pith by cutting away strips; move your knife down the sides of the orange from top to bottom. Use a cutting board with a canal for catching juices, and cut oranges, crosswise, into rounds. Place in a bowl and tip in juices. Add fleur de sel and chopped mint, and toss together.
2. Slice radishes and daikon as thin as you can. (Use a mandolin or a Japanese slicer if you have one.) Place in separate bowl and sprinkle with fleur de sel.
3. Whisk together lemon juice, agave, cinnamon, cayenne and pistachio oil. Divide evenly among the two bowls with oranges and radishes, and toss.
4. Use a slotted spoon to lift oranges from juices that accumulate in bowl and arrange, with radishes, on a platter or plates. Just before serving, spoon on the juices and dressing left behind in bowl, and top with pistachios and mint.
Note: For a juicier salad, toss oranges and radishes together rather than keeping them in separate bowls and skip the slotted spoon. Serve in bowls and sprinkle pistachios on top.
Yield: 4 servings
© 2015 New York Times News Service