I've caught a horrible cold, and on top of making me want to just curl up into a little ball and sleep constantly (which I unfortunately can't do), it's also making me crave anything with vitamin C. I've been tearing open packets of Emergen-C and sucking down orange juice like it's about to disappear from supermarket shelves at any moment. I really wish I still had the blood orange- and green bean-laden salad I made for New Year's Eve.
It was refreshing and delicious with a nice mix of tart and sweet and clearly chock-full of vitamin C from the red-hued blood oranges and even the green beans. Regardless of whether you're sniffly and achy, I recommend that you make this salad. It's often hard for me to think up a good winter salad, as so many of my favorite fruits and vegetables like tomatoes and corn aren't very tasty in the winter, but luckily blood oranges and green beans still are.
I know a lot of people have resolutions to eat healthier or to include more fruits and vegetables in their diets, and this salad makes it really easy to do that.
The salad is a cinch to throw together save one time-consuming step: sectioning the blood oranges. Since I was preparing a bunch of other things for our New Year's Eve gathering, I asked my boyfriend if he would try sectioning the oranges. I plopped down the December issue of Bon Appetit (I found the recipe in Food & Wine but used the tips from Bon Appetit), which shows exactly how to cut away the peel and pith in the Prep School section, and a big pile of oranges in front of him, and he graciously took on the task.
He first had to cut the tops and bottoms off the oranges and then cut off the peel and pith, curving the knife to follow the shape of the fruit.
Then he had to cut in between the membranes to separate out the segments.
If you're short on time, you could just peel the orange and pull apart the sections, but the orange pieces won't look quite as pretty and bold in the salad.
Green Bean and Blood Orange Salad (adapted from Food & Wine, December 2009)
2 pounds thin green beans (if you get them at Costco, they're already trimmed and ready to go)
6 large blood oranges (we used 7 because the oranges were a little on the small side)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
Cook green beans in a large pot of boiling salted water for about 5 minutes -- just until they turn bright green. Drain them and then immediately plunge them in an ice bath. Drain them again and pat them dry.
Meanwhile, peel and section four of the oranges, removing all of the pith. Zest one of the remaining oranges and juice both of them. Transfer the juice to a saucepan and add the vinegar and honey. Bring mixture to a boil, and then simmer over moderate heat until reduced to a syrup, about 10 minutes. Season with salt.
Place green beans and orange sections in a large serving dish, and drizzle the syrup on top. Garnish with the orange zest, and serve.
I recommend making this just before you plan to serve it, so it looks its best. I ate the leftovers for a few days afterward, and while they still tasted great, the salad didn't look quite as vibrant. And something else I discovered while eating the leftovers -- a little feta does not hurt this salad at all!