My first recipe to make is this Orange and Cucumber salad which I am told is a classic Sicilian preparation - Sicily being the source of some of Italy's best citrus fruit. When I first looked at the recipe I wasn't too sure about the combination of oranges, cucumbers, radishes, and mint. However, Marcella has rarely led us astray so off I went to the store to purchase my ingredients.
I decided to buy blood oranges for this salad - a) I like the colour, b) love the flavour, and c) they were form Italy (so much for reducing the environmental footprint of the food that appears on the dinner table - sigh).
This salad is quick to pull together. The various ingredients are cleaned, peeled, sliced, and layered on a platter (we made individual salads) just prior to serving. A simple dressing is all that is left - salt, olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice. The recipe calls for tossing the salad with the dressing but I decided to layer it for a more attractive presentation.
This was an amazing salad - the flavours really worked together and the taste was refreshing.
We first served this with a meal of slow roasted lamb shanks in a heavy red wine sauce - the salad being the perfect complement for such a heavy meal. I've made it a number of times since and we are never disappointed at the refreshing burst of flavour it brings to the table.