The Mairie (townhall) sent a message: “Snow is coming, please all hide while we cover public roads in sand and salt. You will understand all normal service is suspended until temperatures rise above zero.” I paraphrase, but the tone was quite “let’s stay calm while we convince the vampire to throw himself on our wooden stake”.
It snowed for about twenty minutes, with a few scattered puddles as evidence. A man down the street did start a snow ball fight, but he ran out of steam when his second handful of snow resulted in nothing more than a wet glove. Still, it is cold enough to make me dream of soup, spicy curry, deep bowls of risotto with lots of cheese.
Dinner yesterday, however, looked like this:
Yup, a salad. And I declare it the perfect January meal. Ribsticking or steamy it is not, but you couldn’t have it at any other time of year.
See, it’s the fruit. Blood oranges are around for a few weeks only, and you must pounce when you see them. Beneath their rather ordinary looking orange skin they hide deep red tinged flesh and a sharp flavour that unite to form a terrific antidote against January’s cabbage/root vegetable/leek doldrums.
Also, they pair up wonderfully with hearts of palm, creating a soft lusciousness that I find soothing in times of sleet and grey light. It smoothes over the edges of a winter´s day, rather than smothering them in a cheese blanket or bludgeoning them down with chillies. Not that there is anything wrong with smothering or bludgeoning, but sometimes a little gentleness is most welcome.
Hot pink salad dressing. If that doesn’t cheer you up, you might want to skip dinner altogether and go straight for the hot rum and a blanket to hide under. As those sand- and salt throwers did, I suspect, when they found all their efforts were wasted on little more than a persistent drizzle.
Hearts of palm and blood orange salad
My version of a Canal House recipe
For 2 as a side salad, or for 1 salad lover as a light main course
- 2 blood oranges
- half a jar of palm hearts, each piece quartered
- a few handfuls of curly salad leaves, washed and torn into bite sized pieces
- 1 tsp mustard, or more to taste
- 3 tbsp tasty olive oil
- salt and pepper
Peel the oranges by chopping of their top and bottom, placing a flat side of the orange on a cutting board and slicing of the skin and white pith in fat strips. Remove all white, but cut off as little flesh as possible. Cut the peeled oranges into fat slices and half them. Collect any juice you create by doing this into a medium bowl.
Mix the mustard into the juice, and then the olive oil and salt and pepper. Taste, and adjust to your liking (if you want a tarter dressing, add a bit of lemon juice).
Put the salad leave on a big plate. Scatter over the halved orange slices. Put the palm hearts in the bowl with the dressing and turn them gently to give them a film of dressing. Spread the palm hearts over the orange segments and pour the dressing over the salad. Then add a drizzle of olive oil and serve.