Orange, Avocado, and Green Picholine Olive Salad
Salads are not just for summer. Some of my favorites are made in the fall, winter, and spring. Late winter and early spring are the perfect time to make this colorful and flavorful salad. You'll find all kinds of citrus in the market, including sweet, burgundy red blood oranges and more acidic navel oranges. Citrus is the perfect flavor brightener for creamy avocados as well as briny green picholine olives, native to the south of France. In place of picholine olives, you can substitute meaty, sweet green Lucques olives.
2 large navel oranges
3 blood oranges
3 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 medium-size ripe avocados
3/4 cup green picholine olives, or other
imported green or black olives,
4 kumquats, thinly sliced, for garnish
Fresh sprigs of chervil, for garnish (optional)
Grate enough zest from 1 of the navel oranges to measure 1 teaspoon. Set aside in a small bowl. Using a sharp knife, cut off the tops and bottoms of the navel and blood oranges to reveal the flesh. Cut off all of the peel so that no white pith remains. Cut the oranges crosswise into 1/4-inch slices. Set aside.
In the bowl containing the orange zest, whisk together the orange juice, balsamic vinegar, honey, and olive oil to make a vinaigrette. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
When you are ready to assemble and serve the salad, cut the avocados in half from top to bottom. With a sharp knife blade, tap the avocado pit so that the blade lodges in the pit. Twist the knife slightly to remove the pit. Discard. With a large spoon, remove the flesh of the avocado in 1 piece. Cut each avocado half into 8 slices.
Place the orange slices on a serving plate, alternating with slices of avocado. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the oranges and avocado. Garnish with the olives, kumquats, and chervil and serve immediately.
Wine suggestion: Sauvignon Blanc