For the third day in a row, the heat index is over 100 degrees Farenheit in DC. This weather calls for extreme culinary measures. Fruit is always a great beat-the-heat option, especially varieties that have juice. But how about adding an onion for a twist on the old standby? The result is a cool, but zesty combination. And at less than $1 per serving, it won’t put a dent in your budget.
In 1977 a law school friend gave me the idea for this recipe, Orange-onion or OO salad. I say idea because all I got from her was a list of the ingredients and a few hints, like use “some vinegar”. I have since developed a recipe with measurements, but you don’t need to be too rigorous about the proportions. This salad is tangy and best as a side dish. It is particularly good with Southwestern or Mexican dishes such as chicken mole (chicken with spicy chocolate sauce), burritos, or tacos. You can also serve it alongside a plain lettuce salad or put a few lettuce leaves on a plate and top it with a big dollop of the orange-onion salad.
Orange-onion or OO Salad – serves 2 (easily doubled by doubling all the ingredients)
- 2 navel oranges (thick-skinned oranges that peel easily)
- 6-8 half-moon slices of red or sweet onion
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons canola or other oil that does not have a strong taste
- pinch or two of salt
- few tablespoons of orange juice to add if oranges are dry (not juicy)
- leafy or Romaine lettuce (optional)
- Cutting board
- Non-reactive bowl
- Measuring spoons
- Small bowl or jar in which to mix vinegar & oil
1. Peel oranges, cut them in half, then slice each half into rings. Navel oranges peel easily, but may leave a bit of white on the orange. Try to pull off any remaining white skin before cutting the oranges.
The rings should not be too thin
and do not be concerned if the rings do not hold together.
2. Cut an onion in half, then cut thin moon shapes in the opposite direction. Unlike the orange slices (which should be medium thick), the onion slices should be as thin as possible.
I use red (Bermuda) or sweet onions because I find “regular”, yellow onions too sharp to eat raw. If you like to eat yellow onions raw, go ahead and use them in this recipe. Some sweet onions come with names of their origin, such as Vidalia or Walla Walla.
3. Put the oranges and onion in a glass or other “non-reactive” bowl. Glass, ceramic, stainless steel, enamel and other “non-reactive” materials do not react with acids such as vinegar, citrus fruits like oranges, or tomatoes. Aluminum is a reactive material and therefore aluminum pots or bowls are not a good choice for marinating or cooking dishes that contain vinegar, citrus, or tomatoes.
4. Mix the red wine vinegar and oil and a pinch or two of salt.
5. Add the vinegar/oil/salt to the oranges and onion.
6. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
Serve either plain or on top of a bed of leafy or Romaine lettuce.