"I think it's nice that there are all different kinds of lunches and breakfasts and dinners and snacks. I think eating is nice." – Albert from Bread and Jam for Frances, by Russell C. Hoban
The fall means new produce wherever you live. In Israel, where the summer heat continues to hold on, at least during the day, the markets fill with bounty in time for the Jewish New Year. Ruby red pomegrantes, yellow-green quince, various sexy and appropriately looking mysterious tropical fruits in shocking fuschias and pinks, that invite investigation and tasting. Then, there are the standards – the new crop of citrus fruits and winter squashes, which in those heady moments of fall, seem so exciting, months away from inducing winter blues.
This Friday, I gazed into the refrigerator and considered what would compose an appropriately fall-like salad. I wanted something refreshing and clean on the palate, that wouldn’t weigh us down to much before we launched on our heavier main course. I used my new oranges, navel like in their look but ultimately a new variety that I have to ask my fruit/veg guy more about. I’ve been getting some of our produce through a guy who gets organic fruits and veggies from different places. He claimed he’d get some exciting oranges this week and they were good but as usual, still a bit green and not quite as sweet as what they’ll be in another month or two. But tasty nonetheless, with a pleasantly, astringent quality.
Romaine Lettuce – always readily available and it offers a certain bitter quality that makes it, to me that is, more interesting than regular red and green leaf lettuces. It also has a nice crunch as well.
Arugula – what can I say, I almost always use arugula and it always tastes good to me, but one could use other lettuces as well. Watercress can be excellent with this preparation and it’s sharp, almost bitter quality makes a nice foil to the oranges.
Oranges – Peeled, pith removed and sliced across the circumference into circles and then cut into half moons.
Green olives – Israel is the land of olives of all varieties. I was fortunate to get young, green olives, still developing in their marinade, along with sliced garlic. (You could also choose an oil cured black olive, which will be saltier and stronger in taste but still good, or herbed, green olives with a crunchier bite).
Sliced, toasted almonds – Just toast them in a frying pan, keeping a careful eye, or in the toaster oven for 5-7 minutes at 300.
Optional add ins – Sliced scallion or purple onion.
Orange juice/Lemon juice: Depending on how many plates you’re dressing, figure on the juice of 1-2 oranges and 1-2 lemons. You can decide how puckery you’d like the dressing.
Honey to taste.
Splash of apple cider vinegar to even out the taste.
Dijon mustard. 1-2tbsps.
Salt and Pepper.
Whisk together, taste and adjust. I kept it lightly sweet and only mildly tart to accent the not so sweet oranges and the very sharp olives.
You can mix this all up into a big bowl or arrange plates, which is my preference. Mix together your greens separately and then arrange a casual pile on each plaste. Toss some orange slices on top and then some green olives. Dress each plate with a couple of tablespoons of dressing and freshly, ground black pepper. Enjoy.