Lucques salad with Valencia and Moro Oranges
Sunday Suppers at Lucques by Suzanne Goin is in my top 5 cookbooks for many reasons - seasonal menus, perfect for entertaining, delicious flavors, and every single recipe is a winner. This is a favorite winter salad with arugula, almonds, and dates. I used homegrown Valencia and Moro blood oranges with plump Arizona dates we picked up at Dateland on a drive back from San Diego. About this recipe, Goin says, "This salad is my homage to those blood oranges that won my heart so many years ago. Layered with sweet dates, Parmesan, almonds, and a few leaves of peppery arugula, the blood-orange slices burst with sweet, tart juice".
This is my Arizona variation of her recipe found in Sunday Suppers at Lucques: Seasonal Recipes from Market to Table. I use two kinds of oranges to take advantage of my backyard harvest. If you can get your hands on the seasonal Sphinx Black Dates, all the better. This is a beautiful but simple company-worthy dish.
1/2 cup toasted whole almonds or Arizona pecans
15 Arizona Medjool dates or Black Sphinx dates
2 Moro blood oranges
2 Valencia oranges
1/4 pound of Parmigiano-Reggiano, thinly sliced or shaved.
2 ounces arugula
2 tablespoons pure almond oil
Salt and pepper (I like sea salts from local Go Lb Salts).
1. Halve the dates lengthwise and remove the pits.
3. Take a slice off the stem and blossom ends of the oranges so they sit flat. Following the shape of the fruit with your knife, cut the peel and white membrane from the orange, trying not to cut too much into the actual fruit, rotating as you go. Slice each orange horizontally into thin wheels.
5. Layer the salad in a large platter or individual salad plates: Place about a third of the arugula on the plate and top with the sliced oranges, dates, cheese, and nuts. Follow with two more layers . Drizzle the nut oil over the salad, squeeze some fresh orange juice over it, and finish with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. If you would like more acidity, add a splash of champagne vinegar.