I love the fact that in the dreariest, darkest, coldest time of the year (a.k.a. NOW), it's peak season for the most gorgeous, jewel-like citrus fruits. Lately I've been obsessed with citrus salads. They're colorful, they're delicious, and with little effort, you can create an edible work of art.

This salad, inspired by my wonderful brother-in-law Peter (who happens to be a fantastic cook), combines some of my favorite flavors: blood oranges (along with Cara Cara and Navel), pistachios, mint, red onion, arugula, and ricotta salata, dressed with a light white Balsamic vinaigrette. He made a very similar salad for my family last year, and I was determined to find a way to recreate it. I've made it three times in the past week for small dinner parties, and it's the perfect palate cleanser after a hearty main course. One night I served it with Lamb Ragu with Pappardelle, one night with Spicy Seafood Stew, and another night with Lamb Tagine with Chickpeas & Apricots – each time it got rave reviews.

By the way, this salad is super-easy to prep entirely in advance: slice the oranges, chop the mint and pistachios, crumble the cheese, and macerate the onions earlier in the day and keep in the refrigerator; then just assemble right before dinner. Give it a try - or create your own version! - and let me know what you think. Hope this inspires you to have a few friends over for dinner soon. :) Bon appetit!


(Photos by Signe Birck)