Sicilian Style Blood Orange Fennel Salad with Roasted Honey Chili Pistachios

Remember that picture of my wholesome market finds from Thursday? Well, this particular market trip I was accompanied by my beautiful and curious friend K, who pointed out some gorgeous golden beets and questioned the flavor of those mysterious blood oranges, well that got my innovative culinary cogs turning! As promised, I present to you, on this splendid spring forward an hour Sunday morning, a simply gorgeous Sicilian Style Blood Orange Fennel Salad with Roasted Honey Chili Pistachios!

Isn’t this salad so visually appealing and SENSATIONAL!? I could stare at it all day, I actually felt felonious eating it after the photo shoot was done. My husband didn’t… he dug right in, so I clearly had to get in there as well or I would be left without a single bite! There are so many distinctive and delicious flavors going on in this salad that erupt in your mouth. I love how the golden ribbons of beet have an alluring sweet and earthy flavor that I felt would contrast well with the mild licorice flavor of the crunchy shaved fennel. The incredibly stunning blood oranges speak for themselves I’d say, with that raspberry hued orange flavor! I’ve always loved the warmth of dill, it had lemony hints and I thought it would compliment the citrus profiles of this salad. I finished this salad off with the finest, roasted pistachios and of course, feta cheese! I was craving salty and spicy on this particular day, so I grabbed a handful of buttery pistachios, tossed them with Drizzle Honey, a pinch of chili powder and salt, then a quick roast on those suckers … oh my goodness… divine!

I adore blood oranges, I get weirdly enthusiastic when they are in season and stock up on those ruby beauties. So where do these oranges come from and how do they get that unreal color and orange-raspberry flavor? Well, you probably already guessed by the title of this post… they are primarily grown in Italy and they acquire their red color, when temperatures drop at night due to anthocyanin. Anthocyanin (an antioxidant) is the pigment in these oranges and this red pigment continues to accumulate even after harvest, neat huh! Therefore, these oranges can only be cultivated in the cooler months of fall and winter, explaining why we don’t see them all the time in stores!

The Sicilians boast a salad using Tarroco blood oranges, typically comprising of blood oranges, fennel, olives and onions. Unfortunately, during my travels across Sicily I did not get the opportunity to try this traditional salad, but I do remember the juicy and luscious fresh oranges as well as candied oranges, served for dessert! The Sicilians have world famous food for a reason, it’s unreal! I could go on and on about the enticing food we ate, the crystal clear turquoise waters, exceptional white sand beaches, the active and glowing volcano of Mt. Etna and of course the white knuckle driving craziness!

The crystal clear waters in San Vito Lo Capo, Sicily we swam in!

My Blood Orange Fennel Salad with Roasted Honey Chili Pistachios salad is truly effortless and undeniably delicious. I am hoping to deliver you some joy and hopes of warmer weather with colors of spring and yummy eats. Now get to the market and get a hold of those beautiful blood oranges before they are out of season! Happy Weekend and start of a new week that will bring us all a little more sunlight! XOXO

 

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