I officially caught the travel bug today. My best friend recently moved herself, husband, and two small children to London. She received an opportunity to teach anthropology there for a semester. While I certainly envy the fact that she will be living and working in such an incredibly exciting city for four months, I mostly admire her adventurous spirit to pack up to go, see, and do in a completely different country. It certainly is not easy for many adults to assimilate into a new culture but add kids to the mix and you have a completely new ballgame. We had a chance to speak over the phone today and I could tell by the tone in her voice that the decision to make this move is one she and her family will never regret. She also made sure to remind me that the flat they are living in has an extra room if by chance we wanted a last minute get away to London. Of course, the wheels started turning in my head immediately in an attempt to figure out how I can make this happen. Screw responsibility I say! If only it could be that easy.
Shortly after getting off of the phone with her, I was emailing with another close friend of mine who is in the process of booking a trip to Florence, Italy with her sister and mom for the springtime. They rented this quaint, antique-filled flat right in the heart of the city and plan on doing what the Firenzi do so very well: eat, drink, and shop. A perfect trip with just the girls if I do say so myself. Wonder if they would let me tag along?
Regardless of whether I make it to London or Italy sometime in the near future, food has a way of transporting us all to a memorable time and place in our lives. And this Sicilian Orange Salad does just that. I spent a good amount of time visiting my relatives in Sicily during the year I spent studying abroad in Italy many many years ago. This salad sums up my food experience there: fresh, lively, and simple ingredients all coming together to create something so flavorful.
The folks at Carapelli Olive Oil were kind enough to send me a bottle of their extra virgin olive oil. Made from the first cold pressing of olives (the first press yields a high quality oil and low acidity), Carapelli happens to be Italy’s #1 brand of extra-virgin olive oil (who knew?) Fruity and intensely flavored, it worked nicely as the dressing for this perfect end-of-summer salad.
Disclosure: Carapelli provided me a bottle of olive oil for review purposes only. I did not receive any other compensation. All opinions are my own.
- 4 oranges
- 1 fennel bulb, halved lengthwise and cut into thin slices
- 20 Kalamata olives, pitted
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 10 fresh basil leaves, torn
- 5 anchovy filets, finely chopped, optional
- ¼ cup Carapelli extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Peel the oranges, making sure to also remove the white part, and roughly chop.
- Place the oranges with their juices, fennel, olives, red onion, basil, and anchovy if using, in a bowl or serving platter.
- Add the olive oil and seaon with salt and pepper.
- Gently mix all ingredients together. This salad tastes even better if it’s had a chance to sit for 30 minutes to an hour.