The end of the orange season and the start of a spring glut of broad beans and mint means that it´s time here for a refreshing, light and easy salad.
Most people here have at least a few citrus trees in the gardens, some have tens or hundreds of them. After three years our lemon tree is now producing more than we can cope with, but we only planted our orange last autumn, so still rely on the good will of friends and neighbours for our supply. Fortunately, we have very obliging friends and neighbours who keep us in oranges.
When I still went out to buy them, in the early years, I was surprised to be asked in the little local shop “if I wanted oranges for eating?”. Well, of course I did, what the heck did they think I was going to do with them? Of course, now that I am a wise old country biddy, I know that oranges are sold for eating (slightly more bitter) and for drinking (i.e. for juicing). The later are softer, juicier (naturally) and incredibly sweet. The difference is noticeable and as we eat a lot of salads made with oranges here, it´s worth looking out for the right ones.
This salad can be varied depending on the time of year. In the autumn, with the next crop of oranges, I substitute the broad beans for pomegranate pips. Either way, the colours and combinations of tastes are stunning. This salad goes particularly well with oily fish like sardines or mackerel or with fatty meat like lamb or goat. As a starter it´s delicious with a plate of salty jamon and another of a salty cured sheep´s or goat´s cheese. A cold glass of iced dry sherry finishes things off perfectly.
For two people you need:
- Two or three bitter oranges, skin and pith removed and cut into small chunks
- About half a cup of fresh broad beans (raw)
- About 10 mint leaves shredded
- Olive oil
- Salt (flakes or coarse sea salt) and freshly ground pepper
Place the oranges on a plate, pouring over any juice that you have collected when peeling them. Sprinkle over the beans and mint, season and drizzle over the olive oil. Make the salad about half an hour before eating and keep chilled before serving.
It´s an unusual mixture of tastes, but it works for me. Do hope you enjoy it!