Blood orange. I just like the sound of it. A citrus so ripe, rich and juicy it bleeds flavor. It drips intense, acidic plasma that drains the life out of the fruit. Ok, so I’m dramatizing a bit. But, just a bit. These are orgasmic oranges with a bright and biting taste that begs for equally as bold partners in the perfect Blood Orange Salad.
I don’t often run across blood oranges, but when I do, I buy a bushel basket full. This is the perfect elegant dinner party salad with options. You can serve up an entree version of this Blood Orange Salad in a leading role–maybe with grilled tuna or salmon. But it is still a star dish as a first course starter.
Grassy-fresh greens of endive, watercress, arugula, basil, mint, and spinach are the platform to build off of. Layering toasted Louisiana pecans, creamy avocado, and tangy blue-veined Roquefort, and you now have the foundation for introducing the vibrant blood orange segments. Dressed with a fresh blood orange vinaigrette and crowned with crisp fried okra croutons for a nice playful contrast of crunchy texture, this Blood Orange Salad is a culinary transfusion of flavor.
- 6 cups firmly packed mixed greens
- 1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
- 1 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
- 1 red onion, sliced thin
- 4 avocados, peeled and sliced
- 5 blood oranges, supremed and sliced into rounds
- 2 blood oranges, juiced and seeds removed
- 2 tablespoons sugarcane vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Creole mustard
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Peanut oil, for frying
- 15 pods of medium-sized whole okra
- 2 cups yellow cornmeal
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon Acadiana Table Cajun Seasoning Blend, see recipe here
- 1 cup toasted pecan halves
- 1 cup Roquefort cheese, bite-sized chunks
- If you do not use pre-washed mixed greens, be sure to clean all greens thoroughly. Place all lettuce in a large mixing bowl and add the fresh basil, mint, onion, and avocado. Making sure that all of the pith is removed, add the blood orange slices to the salad mixture.
- In a stainless steel mixing bowl, add the orange juice, cane vinegar, mustard, and agave nectar along with a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper. With an immersion blender on high, slowly drizzle olive oil while blending until an emulsion forms. It should take about a half cup of olive oil to reach the desired consistency of vinaigrette.
- In a deep-sided skillet half filled with peanut oil, heat over medium heat to 400ºF.
- Rinse the okra and place on paper towel to dry. With a knife, remove the stem cap and tip slicing the remaining okra into small round slices about the size of your thumb tip. Place cut okra in a bowl and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl add the cornmeal, flour, Cajun seasoning, salt, and black pepper, and combine. Add the blended dry ingredients to a paper bag. Add the cut okra into the bag and rotate the bag vigorously back and forth to coat the okra pieces.
- Place a wire rack over a tray and pour the okra out onto the rack, shaking to let the excess coating drop through to the tray. Add the okra pieces to the peanut oil a handful at a time and fry until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove to paper towels and salt immediately.
- To assemble, toss the greens mixture with the dressing. Add the toasted pecans and toss again. Plate the salad on individual serving plates making sure to evenly distribute all of the ingredients among the plates. Add chunks of Roquefort to each. Drizzle each salad with a little more of the dressing and top with the hot fried okra. With a grind of black pepper, serve immediately.
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