So I dashed into the kitchen, juiced the oranges, and started mixing and measuring and blending. I focused on an oil-free dressing to keep the calories and fat to a minimum but pumped up the condiments to deliver maximum flavor. Within moments, the blender turned the mixture a gorgeous shade of creamy, dusty pink tinged with a hint of orange.
Then came the taste test. Yes!!! Delicious! It's a winner! A little maple syrup tames the definitive tangy flavor of these unique oranges and makes for a very tasty light dressing that goes well with almost any combination of greens and vegetables I tried.
While I thought my foray into blood orange exploration was done, my curiosity and tinkering nature simply wouldn't let me rest. Those beautiful blood oranges were emphatically cajoling me back into the kitchen. That could only mean one thing--another salad dressing, this one an oil-based salad enhancer with pungent sweet and sour goodness and striking red color. Both tasty dressings make a bowl of greens a uniquely different dining experience.
Healthful qualities abound in blood oranges, beginning with their dramatic red color that says they're packed with anthocyanins, antioxidant compounds that fight damaging free radicals. True to the health benefits of all oranges, these are blessed with vitamin C, potassium, and carotenoids. In California blood oranges are available from February through May for those grown in coastal regions and November to February for inland groves.
It may be hard to find blood orange juice, but you can easily make your own from fresh oranges. Simply cut them in half and use a hand reamer to extract their juices. They're easy to work with and are practically seedless.
CASHEW BLOOD ORANGE DRESSING
Yield: 2 cups (480 ml)
1 cup (240 ml) blood orange juice (about 3 large oranges)
SWEET AND SOUR BLOOD ORANGE DRESSING
Yield: about 2 cups (480 ml)
1/2 cup (120 ml) organic canola oil
1/4 cup (60 ml) plus 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons maple syrup
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum