I tend to gravitate towards vibrantly colorful dishes, and Yotam Ottolenghi’s Bittersweet Salad from his cookbook Plenty (transcribed here from seriouseats.com – thank you!) more than fits the bill when it comes to creating a gorgeously finished plate. Its combination of blood orange, radicchio, Treviso, and pomegranate establish a beautiful pinky-purple palette, and I opted to substitute pine nuts with cashews, crumbled ricotta salt for the ricotta, and added chopped dates for an additionally sweet, rich flavor balance to the wonderfully bitter and sweet notes in this healthy salad.
2 blood oranges (or plain oranges)
Blood orange juice as needed
1¼ tablespoon lemon juice
¼ cup maple syrup
Coarse sea salt
½ teaspoon orange-flower water
½ small radicchio
1 small Treviso, leaves separated
1 tablespoon olive oil
Handful of small red leaves (microgreens)
¾ cup good-quality ricotta
2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
Seeds from 1 small pomegranate
Take each of the blood oranges in turn and use a small sharp knife to slice off the top and base. Now cut down the side of the orange, following its natural curve, to remove the skin and white pith. Over a small bowl, cut in between the membranes to remove the individual segments into a bowl. Squeeze all the juice from the membrane and skin into a small saucepan.
Make up the juice in the pan to 7 tbsp with extra blood orange juice. Add the lemon juice, maple syrup and a pinch of salt and bring to a light simmer. Leave to reduce for 20 to 25 minutes, or until you are left with about 3 tablespoons of thick syrup. Strain it through a fine sieve and allow to cool down, then stir in the orange-flower water.
Pull apart the radicchio leaves and tear them roughly into large pieces. Put into a mixing bowl. Add the Treviso leaves, oil and some salt and pepper, and toss gently. Divide the salad leaves between two serving plates. Dot with the orange segments, small red leaves and spoonfuls of ricotta, building the salad up. Drizzle with the orange syrup and finish with pine nuts and pomegranate seeds.